Premier John Horgan jumped into the controversial crime debate in British Columbia on Wednesday, saying he understands communities’ concerns about violent offenders, but arresting more people won’t solve the problem.
He said he agreed with Attorney General Murray Rankin, who told the Legislature on Tuesday that it would be “futile” to focus on more arrests of prolific offenders to fight crime.
“We can’t stop to get out of this challenge,” Horgan said at a press conference at the Legislative Assembly. “It’s a multi-faceted problem. People who see the crime and see the perpetrators not being treated aggressively, I get frustrated with that.
A recent government-commissioned report quoted police and probation officers as saying that repeat offenders “are encouraged to continue committing crimes, which deteriorates community confidence in the justice system.”
BC Liberal Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon, who has said the government has a ‘catch and release’ approach to repeat violent offenders, said BC residents fear coming out in their own communities.
“A woman was followed into her apartment, thrown to the ground and assaulted,” he told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday. “An ax attack on the SkyTrain. A baby in a stroller attacked with a glass bottle. A woman slashed in the neck with a machete.
Falcon said the government was “completely detached from the reality of what is happening in communities across this province.”
But Horgan accused liberals of engaging in a “bumper sticker” approach to the issue.
He cited remarks by newly elected Liberal MP Elenore Sturko, a former RCMP officer, who said at a campaign event last month that the police “can’t arrest us to get out of these problems.”
Violent crime in British Columbia is a deeply concerning issue that affects all communities, including the hometowns of politicians from all political parties, Horgan said.
“The BC Liberals are in the sloganeering business,” he said. “I like to think we tried to solve the problem. This is done through hard work and collaboration.
The government is tackling crime in a ‘multi-faceted way’, reforming the Police Act, overhauling the prosecution service, boosting court budgets and introducing mental health and addictions programs , said Horgan.
A government-commissioned Prolific Offender Report released last month outlines incidents of violent crime across British Columbia and the frustrations of law enforcement officers who arrest suspected criminals only to see them back on the streets.
The report by former Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Doug LePard and Amanda Butler, a criminologist who specializes in mental health and addictions, makes 28 recommendations.
The report said police enforcement, aggressive prosecutions and longer sentences will not solve the problem of violent crime, but also said official statistics may not provide an accurate picture of trends in crime. crime in British Columbia.
—Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
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