This weeks column for 24HRS Vancouver: Money needs to be restored to starved justice system
This week, Kathryn and I didn’t so much duel, as we did bring light to a big issue in British Columbia that has yet to make an appearance in any campaign to date.
The question this week is: What should the next government do about crime?
Oddly enough, crime is an issue that hasn’t been spotted yet on the election radar. Frankly, I find that troubling because as Kathryn accurately points out in her column, B.C. has a major crime problem.
In fact, several B.C. communities have regularly placed on the annual list of the country’s most dangerous cities issued by Maclean’s magazine. Surrey is nearly always among them – it’s currently in the top 10. As a Surrey resident, I’m not looking forward to seeing the ranking based on this year’s statistics – murders have hit double digits in the first four months of this year, the majority of them related to gangs. My hometown of Prince George is currently holding down the top spot on the list with a population of less than 100,000. Kelowna has had several appearances on the list as well.
Geographically, B.C. has become a hub for organized crime and drug trafficking because of easy access on the coast to both the U.S. and an international port. With it comes the trickle-down impact of crimes associated with those activities. Beyond gang-associated homicide and drug trafficking, addiction issues often lead to property crimes, petty thefts, assaults and general altercations. Clearly, it’s not a simple issue and there certainly aren’t any simply solutions or B.C. wouldn’t have the dubious honour of hosting so many cities on Maclean’s list.
Consider this: during the last 10 years, the BC Liberals closed 24 out of 68 courthouses to meet budget targets, closed 10 minimum and medium security prison facilities, and shuttered several Legal Services Society offices across the province….
Read the rest of our columns, and vote, here: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/04/28/money-needs-to-be-restored-to-starved-justice-system
See the Macleans rankings for 2012 here http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/12/07/canadas-most-dangerous-cities/