Mayor Ken Christian
Superintendent Syd Lecky, Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Re: Community Criminality and Lack of Accountability.
“We Own These Streets so F-off”
This is the confrontational statement made by two street thugs this morning to Kamau Metsinela who owns Jamaican Kitchen, as he cleaned up from a break in 24 hours earlier at his restaurant.
It illustrates so clearly what we have been telling the City, RCMP and others over the last 18 months; we are in a state of siege in our city over the lack of accountability for vandalism, criminality and issues which erode our sense of safety.
The Kamloops North Shore Business Improvement Area Association (NSBIA) represents the collective interests of 420 businesses on Kamloops’ North Shore. Our goal is to create a positive, safe, and prosperous community. However, this goal has been challenged over the last few years due to out-of-control criminality in our community.
The NSBIA has been actively advocating for more accountability for willful acts of vandalism and criminal activities to our Safe and Secure Kamloops Working Group, with the City of Kamloops Community Policing, with Kamloops’ Community Services Officers, and even the Media.
We no longer wish to see criminals released on their own recognizance, resulting in an inability to keep our cities safe and secure. We are formally stating what many in our community know: our Justice System appears to be significantly dysfunctional and not tuned to community order or safety.
We have been collecting costs of crime data from our commercial members over the last quarter in the 3.5 km area of Tranquille Rd. To date we have accounted for $167,954.00 (and counting) in costs associated with Vandalism, Graffiti, Theft and Crime Prevention.
This is in addition to City of Kamloops adding overnight security throughout the City, as a result of motions from City Councilors who are attempting to find solutions to our extensive criminal activity.
Last week we sent a letter to the City of Kamloops suggesting a review of overnight security on our corridors. We are also aware that private businesses are supplementing the City’s security patrols in the 400 block of Tranquille to the tune of $9,000.00 a month. Even with this added security, our streets are not safe.
We would be reticent if we did not note that this letter does not deal with the social issues side of community safety. We are strong proponents of a system focused on Healthy Community Outcomes including sobering and detox, complex care, and graduated community recovery services. A formal position and approach to this will be forthcoming.
Our goal is to discuss and act on lack of community accountability for willful acts therefore we request a formal review of community safety mechanisms.
We wish to clearly understand who is responding to our community safety concerns, what that response is, the cost of this response, and wish to work with our response agencies to define clear tasks, actions, and recommendations on methods to regain safety of our streets, alleys, and neighbourhoods for our residents.
Bryce Herman, President
Jeremy Heighton, Executive Director
North Shore Business Improvement Association