Seven candidates who think bylaws and community groups can help tackle crime in Kamloops - InfoNews

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Seven candidates who think bylaws and community groups can help tackle crime in Kamloops

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October 15, 2018 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Major crime and gang violence have been a concern to Kamloops RCMP for several years.

It's no secret that RCMP detachments across the country are in the midst of a staffing shortage and the City of Kamloops has felt these problems on a local level.

Recently, the city's local RCMP detachment Supt. Syd Lecky announced the city is fully staffed for the first time in years but it's hard to say if things will stay that way.

We asked candidates this question: Kamloops has also had more than its share of major crimes, including gangs. If the RCMP can’t find more police officers, how should the city find more options for enforcement?

See excerpts of their answers below. Full answers are at the bottom of the page.

Corally Delwo.
Corally Delwo.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/ Corally Delwo

Use more bylaw officers and community groups

Corally Delwo: One idea I have had is to implement a city police department by either giving more authority to existing bylaw officers. Spending money on more training and equipment might be more economical and will provide support to the RCMP when it comes to minor issues such as traffic violations and city bylaw issues such as after hour parties and noise complaints.

Ken Christian (for mayor): We have worked to use joint patrols with ByLaw Officers and Police in some of our problem areas.

Jimmy Johal: More police officers and neighbourhood watch groups are needed.  The mere presence of police and bylaw officers, CAP Teams, and neighbourhood watch groups act as deterrents.

Sadie Hunter: Neighbourhood and community vigilance also helps officers focus their efforts.

Bill Sarai: I just recently helped implement a Block Watch on my street with another neighbor and found it very successful.  You get to meet your neighbors and strengthen your presence in your neighborhood with more eyes and ears.  I believe every neighborhood should have an association that deals with issues both good and bad with City staff, Council, Police, and By-Laws.

Nicholas Adams: If we can not find new officers to respond to increases in major crime, we need to ensure that we are using our other enforcement tools such as bylaw in the most effective manner to free up RCMP resources.

Dennis Giesbrecht: A good communication system between the city, bylaws is key. Enhanced bylaws officers can take some of the load but we must engage the community.?

Help the RCMP get and keep more officers

Denis Walsh.
Denis Walsh.

Denis Walsh: Kamloops has just recently beefed up the number of RCMP members and I believe soon we will start seeing positive results of this move.

Mike O'Reilly: Kamloops should continually lobby the RCMP for more officers.

Caroline King: The Kamloops RCMP are currently fully staffed for the first time in years with 136 officers so my hope is that this is going to make a difference moving forward.

Kathy Sinclair: Policing is one of the most significant costs in the municipal budget -- money well spent, in my opinion. We all deserve to live in a city where we can feel safe and while organized crime hasn’t been as severe here as in some other cities up to this point, we need to keep it that way.

Arjun Singh: I think if the RCMP sticks with its prolific offender focus and all levels of government work together with citizens to create more housing and social support services, we can bring crime down further.

Dale Bass: If you are referring to hiring more, the city needs to listen to that request when it comes forward and make a decision based on the information provided.

Other answers

Gerald Kenyon Watson: Crime is a by-product of poverty.  The best thing we can do as a community is build a healthy business sector so our youth have employment opportunities.

William James Turnbull (for mayor): We can look at creating our own City Police. We pay 90% of RCMP costs now. Might be able to combine bylaw & police to a degree. Would have more say on what is done. It's not popular, but fines could be a larger source of revenue, at the very least it could free up resources if behaviour improved.

Stephen Karpuk: I think the problem lies in the legal system and corrections, rather than in the policing.  It is crown prosecutors and judges who seem to be too lenient on crime.

Jennifer D. Adams: Car 40 should be operating 24/7.  It has proven to be effective and is needed in our city.

Alison Klie: I would like to look at increasing the Car 40 program to be twenty-four seven. By having a special unit for mental health cases or intoxication-related calls we can ensure that not only do these people get the appropriate help but that other officers are free to respond to different calls.

These candidates did not respond:
Dieter Dudy
Shawn Harnett
Donovan Cavers
Ray Dhaliwal
Chris Bose

Full responses:

Jennifer D. Adams: One thing that can be done to effectively disrupt criminal activity is in the hands of citizens. Report activity in the neighbourhoods, make official complaints and securing all valuables in our yards helps. More police are needed, but, I strongly believe that some response could be handled differently and more cost effectively and with more compassion. Car 40 should be operating 24/7.  It has proven to be effective and is needed in our city. 3 of the last 5 major response actions by RCMP could have been downgraded with a more robust mental health team. Also, our good  neighbour bylaw needs teeth.  Problem properties should be seized by the city using legal means, the home and properties could be sold or used used to enter into agreements with the province, the federal government and social agencies. These problem houses are sprinkled all over the city and must be dealt with more effectively because they are hot zones of criminal activity and are creating unsafe environments for residents, especially our youth and our senior citizens.

Denis Walsh: Kamloops has just recently beefed up the number of RCMP members and I believe soon we will start seeing positive results of this move. Kamloops is uniquely situated in the centre of our province with two major highways intersecting our city, this creates a lot of activity that most municipalities do not experience.

Jimmy Johal: More police officers and neighbourhood watch groups are needed.  The mere presence of police and bylaw officers, CAP Teams, and neighbourhood watch groups act as deterrents.  In high-crime neighbourhoods, we need to invest in basic safety and security infrastructure, including better lighting and motion-lighting, fencing, maybe even security cameras, etc.  Finally, RCMP stats show that areas where harm reduction services are located often become hotspots of criminal activity.  Knowing this, we need to plan better and have adequate resources available for dealing with these problems, before approving such facilities.

Corally Delwo: One idea I have had is to implement a city police department by either giving more authority to existing bylaw officers. Spending money on more training and equipment might be more economical and will provide support to the RCMP when it comes to minor issues such as traffic violations and city bylaw issues such as after hour parties and noise complaints. With the RCMP force being very exhausted and spread thin we could free them up to tackle the gangs, drugs and major crimes.

Sadie Hunter: Good news released this week that the Kamloops RCMP is now fully staffed! This increased capacity will really help our local officers address problem areas more effectively without being as strained. Neighbourhood and community vigilance also helps officers focus their efforts.

Nicholas Adams: The RCMP is best equipped to deal with major crime.  If we can not find new officers to respond to increases in major crime, we need to ensure that we are using our other enforcement tools such as bylaw in the most effective manner to free up RCMP resources.

Mike O'Reilly: Kamloops should continually lobby the RCMP for more officers. For the first time in years the Kamloops detachment now has full staffing. We must not just keep it this way but increase the staffing levels as requested by our detachment.

Caroline King: The Kamloops RCMP are currently fully staffed for the first time in years with 136 officers so my hope is that this is going to make a difference moving forward.

Dennis Giesbrecht: RCMP staffing has actually recently improved with Kamloops being fully staffed at 136 officers, the first time in years.  A good communication system between the city, bylaws is key. Enhanced bylaws officers can take some of the load but we must engage the community. Community fairs, block watches and social events the city can support to bring people out of their homes to encourage a feeling of "community and engagement.

Dale Bass: A report last year indicated Kamloops crime statistics to be severe. It is a challenge for our RCMP detachment. I am unclear what you mean in your question referencing finding more officers. If you are referring to hiring more, the city needs to listen to that request when it comes forward and make a decision based on the information provided.

Gerald Kenyon Watson: Crime is a by-product of poverty.  The best thing we can do as a community is build a healthy business sector so our youth have employment opportunities. I would look to the RCMP themselves for their recommendations as policing experts. Kamloops is part of the BC RCMP South East District; Major Crimes are primarily managed out of Kelowna and gang related issues are managed through the provincial Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. Nationally there is an increasing RCMP member shortage; this is going to be a problem locally, provincially and federally going forward.

William James Turnbull: We can look at creating our own City Police. We pay 90% of RCMP costs now. Might be able to combine bylaw & police to a degree. Would have more say on what is done. It's not popular, but fines could be a larger source of revenue, at the very least it could free up resources if behaviour improved.

Alison Klie: As of writing this the RCMP has announced that they have a full detachment. That aside it is difficult to improve these problems without increasing funding to hire more officers but there are creative solutions that might help to ease the workload. The best known ones being neighbourhood watch programs and the CAP teams. I would like to look at increasing the Car 40 program to be twenty four seven. By having a special unit for mental health cases or intoxication-related calls we can ensure that not only do these people get the appropriate help but that other officers are free to respond to different calls.This will also help to reduce the cost accompanied with unnecessary arrests. A more long-term solution would be to invest more into youth and after-school programs to deter those at risk from turning to gang related activities.

Stephen Karpuk: I think the problem lies in the legal system and corrections, rather than in the policing.  It is crown prosecutors and judges who seem to be too lenient on crime.

Bill Sarai: I just recently helped implement a Block Watch on my street with another neighbor and found it very successful.  You get to meet your neighbors and strengthen your presence in your neighborhood with more eyes and ears.  I believe every neighborhood should have an association that deals with issues both good and bad with City staff, Council, Police and By-Laws.   I believe the presence of both Police and By-laws on foot patrol in high crime areas would help deter the criminal activity.

Kathy Sinclair: As a member of the City’s Community Safety Committee, I have a lot of respect for our local RCMP, and I’m grateful for all they do to protect citizens. Last December, Council approved a request for an increase of six officers, bringing us up to a total of 130. Policing is one of the most significant costs in the municipal budget -- money well spent, in my opinion. We all deserve to live in a city where we can feel safe and while organized crime hasn’t been as severe here as in some other cities up to this point, we need to keep it that way. I’ll be paying close attention to the RCMP’s recommendations on future policing needs. See also questions #2 and #3.

Ken Christian: We have alloted room for 10 new police officers in our last two budgets.  The difficulty has been recruitment but our new Supt, Syd Lecky, is making good progress in filling these spots.  We are also working with E Division to rationalize provincial resources housed in our Detachment.  In the meantime we have worked to use joint patrols with ByLaw Officers and Police in some of our problem areas.  As for major crime the spike we have seen is largely due it instability in the gang culture as a result of a recent death.  Our detachment is working closely with the Anti Gang Unit to keep our streets safe and as Chair of the Community Safety Committee I am always review criminal intelligence reports. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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