This past week, for the second time in a few weeks, the business owned by an admired and well-loved member of our community was broken into, continuing a pattern that has persisted for the past few years.
Another pattern will also persist following this event, that being the ostrich-like hide your head in the sand response of the community.
Rather than taking any positive action, people will moan about the events on Facebook, they’ll create slick videos to post to a captive audience and will feel all warm and fuzzy about it, when in fact they have done nothing to have any meaningful impact except preach to the choir.
Meaningful impact means community action. A march around town hall and presentations to council did nothing to raise awareness. It’s almost as if district government is afraid to say anything lest they somehow damage the town’s reputation as a tourist destination, not realizing that doing nothing will only result in more crime.
Acknowledgement in traditional forms of media, not social media such as Facebook and Twitter, of the crime rate is needed to create change.
The Hope Standard takes an apathetic almost laissez-faire attitude that seems to want the RCMP to contact them when a crime occurs rather actually going out and digging for news and reporting it. Home break-ins go unreported as do break-ins at our businesses, which rarely receive notice.
Over the course of six months, a major downtown retailer had break-ins occur monthly since December 2018. These received only passing notice in another news story after four occurred.
In the meantime, that retailer had to spend money on putting bars across its front windows. The break-ins at Broke Buckle received the same apathetic response in the media. Blame the RCMP all you want for their responses, but the only way to ramp that up is for the media to report on the calls the RCMP have received.
Recently Global TV did a segment on our town and it was all unicorns, puppies and kitties. Why is it that none of the aforementioned Facebook grumblers or groups bothered to tell then about the problems facing our town? More effort is made on mass promotion of Rambo: First Blood being filmed here than on making our town better.
Without engagement on a broader plane we will never get the district, our MLA, or MP to step up on our behalf. They need to know that an unhappy, non-apathetic citizenry can and will affect their incumbency. Certainly, with a Federal election looming perhaps those standing in our riding from the NDP, the Liberals, or the Greens would like to address this deficit in care, as Mr. Strahl surely doesn’t seem to care. Could that be, however, because the ostriches here in Hope have yet to roost in his office in Chilliwack?
If the town wants to promote tourism, Rambo, chainsaw carving, and even film making, a pro-active course of strong action is needed, action that will act as the nagging conscience of those who can do something yet do nothing. The action should not be our retailers needing to put bars on their windows as that only will drive up prices and affect their ability to do business.
Failure to do anything apart from complaining and posting on Facebook simply normalizes our crime situation, rather than exposing it as the aberration that it truly is.
Anthony G Pavick