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LETTER – Support dollars might be better spent on enforcement

(Image: RCMP)

Re: Editorial – Voters’ society survey on street crime won’t change anything but…

To Mel Rothenburger: You are correct in your opinion that the survey will do little-to-nothing about the homeless issue — on par with the police, elected officials, the courts, social services and BC Housing.

Countless sums of money have been thrown at homelessness haphazardly, with little to no visible progress — a result that is not so surprising when you admit that for the majority of street people, these services allow them to maintain their lifestyle in perpetuity.

Social justice warriors will say that the honeypot effect does not exist. Your eyes will plainly contradict that notion, even in the face of cherry-picked statistics from BC Housing.

If you build it, indeed they will come — and come in droves they have to the T̶o̶u̶r̶n̶a̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ Homelessness Capital of BC.

Certainly there are individuals on the streets due to abuse, neglect and factors largely out of their control. We should feel empathy for them and make services available.

But when a majority of individuals, regardless of the circumstance that led them to the street, cannot, or will not do the hard work that it takes to change their lot (provided they have no real issues of mental health that would preclude them from any chance of success), these people simply do not deserve to be entertained by the community at large.

Nowhere does it say that services must be in the middle of our communities and neighbourhoods. Normalizing street life, open drug use, open defecation and all manner of ills is not the way forward. Let us not forget that the choice to use alcohol and drugs is always a personal one.

The mecca of liberal politics has finally admitted defeat in the face of reality, with the mayor of San Francisco calling a state of emergency and directing the police to finally crack down on open crime and drug use, and to bring back control of portions of the city to the rightful owners — contributing members of that city.

The victims in Kamloops are more and more looking like the closed businesses, or those that suffer repeated crime and vandalism, assaults and home invasions. Extend that further, and you will find a stressed taxpayer, paying for things that
show no progress.

What are the odds that a homeless camp will start a fire that will destroy a neighbourhood during fire season?

Kamloops has no hope of besting the efforts of San Francisco. There are no grand ideas hidden here, no new approaches missed by the leaders of other cities. There is nothing in the brain of David Eby that will return our community to its previous state. No hard work that will “end homelessness for good”.

Here is a solution as good as any other: It is time for the police to do their job, it is time for the courts to stop the revolving door that puts these losers back into our community to terrorize us, and it is time for social supports to show results, or lose the right to operate in our city.

It is time to show hostility to the elements that degrade our community with crime and malaise. Every dollar spent on supports is a dollar that can be spent on enforcement. We have seen the results of supports. Perhaps it’s time to see the results of enforcement.

BARRY CONVEX

About Mel Rothenburger (9054 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.

3 Comments on LETTER – Support dollars might be better spent on enforcement

  1. John O'Fee // June 26, 2022 at 2:27 PM // Reply

    The notion that we can police our way out of addictions issues is simply not supported by evidence.

    First, it is a simple fact that the supply of drugs has not and can not be stopped through policing. If there is a “war on drugs”, then fly the white flag. Drugs won. The drug supply in any city is more reliable than the supply of electricity. There is, quite literally, never an outage. This has been true, quite literally, for decades. Given that the supply and flow of drugs continues largely unimpeded by the efforts of police, we need to come to grips with that reality.

    Second, most of our social problems result from drug seeking behaviour. The thefts from vehicles, robberies and assaults associated with most low level street crime are a function of addicts doing whatever they can to stave off withdrawal from their addiction. The higher level crimes such as drive-by shootings and gang wars relates to control of the lucrative drug trade.

    The idea behind a safe supply of drugs is to make it less financially viable to be in the drug trade. Al Capone got rich because alcohol was illegal. Current drug lords are getting rich for the same reason. Providing a heroin addict with a safe supply for a year costs a fraction of a single overdose hospitalization. It’s not even close. Removing the financial pressure to commit petty crimes to fuel addictions allows addicts the opportunity to seek treatment. Research on “Agonist Intervention Therapy” shows that addicts provided with a safe supply are far more likely to seek and be successful in treatment than those left in the cycle of street drugs.

    Click to access Vol_21_Issue_4_Page_443_-_445_Kestler.pdf

    Obviously, addictions are just one facet of complex social problems that include poverty and mental health issues. As such, Agonist Intervention Therapy is by no means a panacea to complex social issues that impact community members. However, it can be a very affordable and effective form of harm reduction that makes the sale of drugs less financially viable and channels more people towards recovery.

    Given that our current approach isn’t working, perhaps its time to explore credible, researched alternatives.

  2. The “choice” to use drugs exists for a short while, if ever. Another process or condition called habituation or addiction is less optional, and creates powerless victims, who become the slaves of vile manipulators and maggots.

  3. John Noakes // June 20, 2022 at 6:12 AM // Reply

    It seems a family can work for years to have a safe place to live and retire but a couple of closed door council meetings can change everything.

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