Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr. File photo

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

The Abbotsford Police Department may soon look to clamp down on homeless people who are engaged in criminal or harassing behaviour, Chief Mike Serr told council last week.

Serr said the department will remain focused on first trying to help people living on the streets, but that those who break laws and bylaws also need to be held “accountable” for their actions.

“We are always going to be a caring department that is going to try to find them pathways of care and help,” Serr said. But he added: “I think we’ve lacked the enforcement side at times.”

Serr said a small group of the homeless “are doing a disproportionate amount of crime in our community.”

And he said he has heard from property and business owners frustrated by “significant” shoplifting and thefts, as well as those concerned about panhandling near roadways.

“I do want to identify the smaller group who are really causing the most significant issues and concerns in our community, trying to find them the pathways to getting them the help and the services that they need,” Serr said.

He said the city has a variety of programs and initiatives to help people on the street, including those causing problems.

“We need to find a way to change behaviours, because what we’re doing now – of not doing anything – I think is getting frustrating for a lot of people.”

Mayor Henry Braun said the justice system also needs to be engaged in the issue.

“Our justice system comes into play here, too, because if we move on the enforcement side and nothing happens, it’s just a revolving door,” he said.

Braun has previously said he wishes police, rather than Crown counsel, would have the final say on whether criminal charges are laid in cases.

RELATED: Give police ability to directly lay charges, ‘fed up’ Abbotsford mayor says

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

New waste system rolling out across Hope Feb. 10

Bins began arriving at homes around Hope this week

Rude awakening: 1.6-magnitude earthquake rouses residents from their sleep

The quake was detected 3 km east-northeast of Agassiz

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Most Read