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LETTER – Kamloops in a state of siege: ‘We own these streets so F-off’

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

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.

Sincerely Yours

Bryce Herman, President
Jeremy Heighton, Executive Director
North Shore Business Improvement Association

About Mel Rothenburger (8243 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on LETTER – Kamloops in a state of siege: ‘We own these streets so F-off’

  1. Jennie Stadnichuk // June 7, 2021 at 10:46 AM // Reply

    Although Canada is not at the advanced thinking stage of legalizatjk (as Pierre, above suggests) “a safe and cheap supply of pharmaceutical grade substances”, B.C. has Insite. “Insite” is North America’s first legal supervised consumption site. It opened in 2003 and is located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where there is a high number of long-term injection drug users. The facility operates under a Health Canada exemption from prosecution under federal drug laws. It’s time to apply for Federal permission to set up such a site in Kamloops. Drugs are not provided, but it would help alleviate many problems evident on our streets. Canada ought to consider Portugal’s approach, i.e.: “DECRIMINALISATION IN PORTUGAL: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
    13TH MAY 2021 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW –Drug-related deaths have remained below the EU average since 2001 –The proportion of prisoners sentenced for drugs has fallen from 40% to 15% –Rates of drug use have remained consistently below the EU”. (info from website: transformdrugs.org ).

  2. R A George // May 14, 2021 at 5:47 PM // Reply

    In the ” Seattle dying ” Public TV docomentry from Seattle they had girl who was homeless state that there was 1005 adiction to drugs amongst her copmpatriots,I go along with P Graham. In wyoming they have very little problem with armed hoodlums Too many citizens with a carry permit.We’re long past the stage of civil rights lawyers peotecting these folks. It,s time for incarceration,forced cleanup and like it or not a guarented annual income, Also as I have previousl stated, convicted non addict perveyors of hard drugs to receive the death sentence or at best a life sentance.

  3. Erlank Tony // May 14, 2021 at 6:15 AM // Reply

    One of the first priorities that any government should have is to keep its citizens safe. If they can’t do that, they’re an abject failure.

  4. Tony Brumell // May 13, 2021 at 11:15 PM // Reply

    I think I mentioned the two films by KOMO 4 called “Seattle is dying ” and ” The fight for the soul of Seattle “. Both indicate the sickness that is now upon us. If you pay attention you will see that solutions have been underway in Providence R.I. These are not individuals who need misdirected compassion . The city needs to stop feathering the nest for psychotics and drug addicted individuals. It won’t be long now and someone will be seriously hurt or worse and while the new security initiatives will help they are not the final answer. Watch the movies and understand the message and solution.

  5. Time to send in the troops with a lesson on civility?

    • Ok PG what about civility on the roads? You know the ones speeding up at a yellow light or running through a red one? Or the ones speeding in residential neighbourhoods? Or the ones still fumbling with their PCD (Personal Communication Devices) or the one with the obnoxiously loud trucks and motorcycles, the completely careless and inconsiderate ones? There is a lot of bad behaviour out there and don’t forget the majority of the drugs are used by a large swath of the well-to-do population behind closed doors. You can’t deny them their fun!

  6. So sad that we have come to this stage. So sad, also, that decent peace loving people like me feel like calling for the militia to wipe these thugs and scum into the sewers where they belong. Horrifying to realize that we must arm ourselves to go downtown. I will do so..

  7. Alan Kuhnert // May 13, 2021 at 9:57 AM // Reply

    Timely article as I just phoned the by-law department about a very concerning issue to the seniors who use the Peterson Creek Trail in the evening. There has been 3 homeless camps on the trail in the last 3 weeks. If we get accosted at night by a drugged out or mentally unstable citizen where do we go for safety. 3 seniors in the last two days have expressed their fears to me and one noted that he had sent a picture in to the city and I made a phone call to the by-law department but of course…no response. Only a fool would use Riverside Park after dark but unless there is a timely response do we put the Peterson Creek Trail on our no go list after dark.

  8. Garry Davies // May 13, 2021 at 8:33 AM // Reply

    One approach would be to get police officers out of cars at less for some of their work shift.

  9. This is a much greater issue for both Lecky and council, much greater. A safe and cheap supply of pharmaceutical-grade substances would go a long way to alleviate some of those problems.
    And to think most of this was started as a decoy to wage war on left-leaning ideologies. The “war on drugs” has turned into a costly and ineffective nightmare but the abysmal failure is continuing.

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