An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
ANY VISIT TO THE DOWNTOWN or Tranquille Corridor these days can leave the impression we’re losing control of our streets. It’s part of the social pandemic that threatens to get out of hand.
COVID-19 — that other pandemic — has significantly reduced the number of shoppers in both zones and maybe that makes the issue more obvious.
And maybe it’s the apparent tendency of the courts to release suspects rather than send them off to super-spreader confinement, but there definitely seems to an uptick in criminal activity.
There has been an alarming number of drug-trade executions of late and some of the less serious stuff is taking on a bizarre twist. There was the guy who climbed into someone’s car as it was stopped in traffic.
And the fugitive couple who conveniently drove into a police parking lot where they were apprehended. There was the guy who smashed his way into a store and left with a shopping cart full of stolen merchandise.
In another store, a shop lifter chased an employee with a hammer and knife. And an RCMP officer was punched and kicked after he responded to a call for help.
While a lot of things have a role in this downturn in social order, the drug trade is a big one. It’s no wonder a large majority of Canadians — 88 per cent — favour mandatory, court-ordered treatment for drug addictions both for the good of the addicted and the safety of the public.
Aside from the issue of individual rights, however, does it work? Reports from places that have tried it vary, and it’s certainly fraught with peril.
Support for mandatory treatment, though, reflects hardening attitudes towards the problem. Canadians still support supervised injection sites and decriminalization but they want results.
They’re saying there’s a place for a stick as well as a carrot. Taking a look at what’s happening on our streets, it’s not surprising.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.