This is an open letter to everyone in the District of Hope who has complained in the coffee shops or local hangouts — in particular, on social media — about several issues in our community, namely, panhandling, vandalism, disorderly conduct and illegal behaviour, thefts (petty and otherwise) and other annoying and undesirable incidents. The facts, as I understand them, are that no matter how much you chat about it in person or online, nothing will change unless you are proactive. By that, I mean if you see something of a questionable, distasteful or illegal nature – call, write or email the appropriate authorities: the RCMP, the District of Hope or Fraser Health.
Documentation that is trackable is the only thing that will accomplish what needs to be done. Keep a log of who you contacted about the issue, when you made contact and what action or response was proposed to fix the problem or address your complaint. Let’s face it, numbers count — especially when it comes to increased uniforms (a proven deterrent to many offenders) and an official presence on the streets.
I understand that more often, than not, the RCMP (for example), does not speed to the site of someone doing something detrimental or offensive — their officers are limited to taking care of serious situations, including accidents, violent or potentially violent, criminal activities. Responding to a report of someone begging for change is not a priority (time-sensitive), although it is annoying and definitely not a plus for visitors to our town, but there is a solution; one that requires people to go on record to the people who can do something about it.
The District does not have the staff to monitor the countless community Facebook pages or websites — it does, however, have to respond to written requests (including emails). Complacency or the attitude of “why bother?” will do nothing to change things. So, the next time you see something ‘wrong’, do something to make it right — put it in writing. If everyone does this, there will be improvement in our community and issues will be addressed. If the authorities don’t know about a problem, how can we expect them to find a solution?
Published April 6, 2017.