The turnout for Coffee With A Cop at the Blue Moose surpassed the expectations of the Media Relations Officer for the Upper Fraser Valley, who facilitates these meet and greets throughout our area. Clearly, judging from the number of people present, and the cacophony of voices yesterday, we have issues that need consideration and action. Ñow.
At the very beginning of the meeting, he told those present that the intentions of these events are to meet your local RCMP and get to know them. This was not to be, however. Each person crammed into the tiny back room (and at least a dozen more unable to find space inside the back room) at the Blue Moose had matters to discuss with the RCMP. We all wanted to have our voices heard, whether it be with suggestions, criticisms, comments, or questions.
It was most unfortunate that the facilitator was unwilling to generate a semblance of order and allowed the chaos that ensued. I myself spoke directly to three members including the MR Officer asking for them to take back to the Staff Sargent that we need foot and bicycle patrols through the downtown core at the very least, and foot patrols through the park. I also questioned the response time, and critiqued the number of members on duty to serve such a large area as the Hope Detachment does.
There’s an obvious need for more visible patrols. In the past month I know of two instances where community members have been assaulted when asking panhandlers and suspected psychiatric patients to cease their negative activities. The disturbing aspect is that both assailants were men. Both victims are women.
Perhaps we ought to be looking towards ancillary patrols by an enhanced Bylaw department, using that implemented in Langford as a model for a scaled down version in Hope. A community safety patrol in the downtown core by contracting our new local security company, Khronos Security, could work to this end. Encouraging more community members to join Community Policing. Looking at the Lightcatch app ( www.lightcatch.net) as an adjunct to the initial report to RCMP of crimes in progress. Blockwatch, utilizing the Lightcatch app would bring Blockwatch into modern times.
As a business owner (Hope Optical) and homeowner in Silver Creek, the rampant crime and effects of addiction concern me greatly. My business has been negatively impacted by the street entrenched and as such I’ve addressed our council twice imploring them to take action to combat the crime and addiction effects. Hope is at the precipice of the point of no return, and as a small town, the crime is front and center. There are means to mitigate the ills plaguing society- the RCMP and our council need to work together to use all the tools that could be in the toolbox.