Chilliwack – Over the past six months, a number of crime reduction initiatives have taken place, especially in the Downtown core to combat crime.
While the occasional street light has been added (notably Nowell and Victoria by the Chilliwack Alano Club– which is now behind a seven foot high barbed wire fence), most notable have been foot patrols re-introduced into the downtown and now the announcement of an additional 10 RCMP officers.
City Councilor Jason Lum stated : My thanks to the Public Safety Advisory Committee (which includes City Staff, RCMP, Fire Department, SD33, Crown Counsel, Downtown BIA, BC Ambulance, ICBC, Sto:lō Justice, Chamber of Commerce, and Community Representatives from Restorative Justice, Crime Prevention Services, Family Law, Corrections and the Chilliwack Healthier Communities) for their hard-work on this project. Crime is a Community issue – and this committee of dedicated volunteers is working very hard on behalf of the Community.
Here is the official media release from the city:
Chilliwack City Council is pleased to announce its unanimous intent to hire 10 additional RCMP members in 2017.
This month the City of Chilliwack submitted a letter of approval in principle to the Ministry of Justice stating that Chilliwack anticipates requiring the addition of 10 members in 2017, increasing the total detachment strength from 101 to 111 members.
“The addition of 10 RCMP members in one year is an unprecedented increase for the City of Chilliwack, and clearly demonstrates how serious Council is about fighting crime in our community,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. “Our residents deserve to feel safe and we believe that the additional RCMP officers, combined with our continued work on public safety and drug prevention, will help bring a new level of security to the community.”
“These new officers will be deployed throughout the Chilliwack Detachment in a means which will provide the most immediate impact on solving, reducing, and preventing crime in our community. Eight officers will be assigned to uniform General Duty Teams to further enhance police visibility and presence within the community, while our RCMP Crime Reduction Unit will receive one officer in each of the property and drug sections of these plainclothes investigational teams,” said Superintendent Deanne Burleigh, Officer in Charge of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment.
“For several years, the City’s Public Safety Advisory Committee has thoroughly reviewed opportunities to reduce crime in Chilliwack, knowing a community approach is necessary to reduce crime,” said Councillor Jason Lum, Chair of the Public Safety Advisory Committee. “We know that adding RCMP members is just one piece of the crime prevention puzzle and will continue to look for ways residents can be active in crime prevention.”
Based on a recommendation from the Public Safety Advisory Committee, Council approved a new online crime map program. The new map and educational webpage (chilliwack.com/stopcrime) will provide accurate information on community safety and crime through the City of Chilliwack’s website. As approximately 50% of thefts from vehicles occur from unlocked cars, it is hoped that the crime map will remind residents to lock their doors to keep theft at bay.
Another way the City is taking a pro-active approach to crime prevention is ensuring the proper supports are in place for vulnerable members of the population.
“Helping people before the cycle of crime starts is a critical component to addressing crime in our community,” said Councillor Ken Popove, co-chair of Chilliwack Healthier Community. “Through Chilliwack Healthier Community, 42 service groups work together to actively address the most persistent issues affecting the health and well being of our community. These include drug addiction, mental health concerns and homelessness.”
In addition to working within the community, Chilliwack has also been focused on broader initiatives that directly impact public safety. In 2015 Chilliwack’s prolific offender resolution to the Union of BC municipalities was passed unanimously, clearly demonstrating wide spread concern over the sentencing of offenders.
“We have asked the Province to find a way to stop the cycle of crime and are urging them to move forward on their own Blue Ribbon Panel recommendations in a timely manner,” said Mayor Gaetz