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Kamloops City Council concerned public will turn to vigilantism

City Councillor Arjun Singh asked the community on Kamloops Citizens for Change social media page to "not take matters into your own hands" when it comes to dealing with crime in Kamloops.
July 25, 2021 - 8:00 AM

A new Facebook group in Kamloops is gaining a lot of attention from city councillors, which is exactly what it wants.

But not this kind.

Kamloops Citizens for Change started only a month ago but already has 1,900 members in on the cause.

"This group is for Kamloops citizens who are done with the crime and drug use in our city,” is the group’s credo. "We are a law/rule abiding group who want to make a change.”

It’s filled with 344 posts of people angry with the current state of crime and lawlessness in the Tournament Capital and vowing not to take it anymore. While they’re only up in arms digitally, it has some city councillors concerned that won’t be enough for them.

"No one wants to see an unfortunate situation like what happened to Jessie Simpson a few years ago," Coun. Sadie Hunter said at a council meeting, July 20.

Simpson was severely beaten with a baseball bat by Kristopher Teichrieb in 2016, after Teichrieb found him on his lawn early one morning. Teichrieb was sentenced to seven years in jail for aggravated assault and during the trial, his growing frustrations with crime on his property and neighbourhood were revealed.

Coun. Bill Sarai said he has seen many people state on social media are angry that property crime is a low priority for police and he is fearful that a person, through frustration, will take to similar vigilantism.
Superintendent Syd Lecky strongly discouraged any person from taking to vigilantism in response to property crime anywhere in Kamloops.

On July 21, councillor Arjun Singh posted on the group page, "If you are thinking of taking matters into your own hands, please think twice. This never ends well. Reach out to any city councillor and I know we will work with you the best we can."

Leah Moss is the organizer of the group. She says there is no need for concern that her members are going to take the law into their own hands.

"We have zero tolerance for violent comments among our members," she said. "Any violent comment is met with immediate dismissal. The changes we are trying to make are taking a frustrating amount of time because we are law abiding and follow the rules. I am very much against anything illegal. We intend to hold the city accountable for needed change, but in a peaceful, proper way."

Moss says she has a formed a committee which has had three general meetings to date. There are plans for peaceful demonstrations to keep pushing the message that changes need to be made in the city, by the city.

"We are not going to stop pushing ahead and we are not going to back down," she said, "If anyone has concerns about the intention of the group I am available for conversation."

- with files from Levi Landry


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