Penticton's top cop has a message for would-be vigilantes - InfoNews

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Penticton's top cop has a message for would-be vigilantes

A homeless camp in Penticton earlier this summer. The city's detachment commander responded to social media comments advocating harm to the homeless and addicted yesterday, Aug. 30, 2019.
August 30, 2019 - 7:30 PM

PENTICTON - Frustration over petty crimes committed by the region’s homeless and addicted continues to spill into social media, with what appears to be a growing number of people suggesting residents take matters into their own hands.

But the Superintendent of Penticton’s RCMP detachment says while they’re aware of the crime on the streets, he’s also fed up with the comments.

Ted De Jager particularly targeted the administrators of community Facebook forums, saying they have a ’social responsibility’ to block some of the more nasty comments.

“If it was racially motivated, that’s hate speech. But apparently if you’re a down-and-out person in the street, people are allowed to say we should beat the crap out of you and let you die,” he said. "I don’t know what the difference is and I think it's disgusting. The administrators of those sites have a responsibility to block that type of behaviour. That said, counselling someone to commit an offence is in and of itself the same offence. If you tell someone to commit an assault, you’re just as guilty as the one that did it. It's just dirty and nasty, is that what we've come to?”

While De Jager was specifically referencing Penticton, the situation is mirrored in Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops.

De Jager acknowledged the city’s street level crime problems, saying the police will do everything they can to bring those committing crime before the court.

“But it has to be done in our society in the correct manner,” he said. “People who say that are ignorant, and I don’t mean that in an offensive way, I mean they are ignorant of the law. It’s not what the soldiers who stormed the beaches at Normandy stood for… If they had the guts to come up with a meaningful solution I’m all ears, so come on and join the team, join citizens on patrol. If you have the guts, come on out, and we’ll engage you in a meaningful solution,” he said.


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