EDITORIAL: Safety forum missed plan of action

EDITORIAL: Safety forum missed plan of action

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Oliver Fire Chief Bob Graham, far left, addressed fire safety at Tuesday’s community safety forum. The remaining panel consisted of, from right, RCMP Superintendent Ted de Jager, Sgt. Blaine Gervais, bylaw enforcement officer Shilo Lyver, fellow officer Dan Lyver and Crime Watch coordinator Ron Johnson. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

Oliver is not the sleepy little hamlet that it used to be.

Gone are the days when you could leave your doors unlocked while you went into town. Today, you’re even inviting trouble if you forget to lock your vehicle overnight.

We can no longer expect to sit back and let the police handle crime in our neighbourhood. It’s getting too big for anyone’s britches these days.

So it’s apparently up to us to help catch the bad guys. Maybe now we’ll finally understand what’s involved and how frustrating it is for an understaffed police station.

That doesn’t mean taking the law into your own hands, it means reporting all suspicious behaviour (immediately) and making your possessions hard to steal. It amazes us how many people still leave their vehicles unlocked with valuables in plain sight.

When you read headlines about somebody getting shot in the face or robbed during a home invasion, you think Surrey or Vancouver, not Oliver. So what has happened to our town? And how did it get this way? The answers are not easy to come by.

Although last week’s safety forum was a good opportunity to vent, there was no plan of action. It may have felt good to get all those concerns off our chest, but it didn’t make us feel any safer.

The fact is prolific offenders in our midst will still be committing crimes in those “problem houses” while we suffer the consequences. Why are they allowed to continue disrupting the neighbourhood after being cited numerous times by police or bylaw enforcement? Eviction, anyone? It’s not that simple anymore; they’ve got rights . . . the right to keep breaking the rules and making our lives miserable.

The RCMP expend a lot of effort gathering evidence against these people only to see them continue their trade soon after serving their sentence (on weekends).

The Oliver RCMP must be commended for getting a number of criminals off our streets. In fact, they put several out of commission during the past year. But their limited resources can’t keep up with the evil that men (and women) do.

That’s why residents have to do their part to make it difficult for heathens and thieves.

In turn, the government could do something for us, such as re-establishing the courthouse in Oliver, giving our detachment the resources to offer 24-hour policing, and offering more drug addiction services.

There has been mention of establishing a municipal police force (like the one in Nelson) to address Oliver’s policing challenges. This would no doubt be costly but could prove worthy in the long run. But keep in mind, the RCMP are addressing these challenges already and are open to working with the Town on any emerging problems.

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