On Tuesday, April 16, Chilliwack City Council approved the Terms of Reference for a new task force that will address community safety. The Integrated Community Safety Task Force, initiated by Mayor Ken Popove, will help address some of the more complex issues surrounding crime.
Over the past several years, Chilliwack City Council has responded to increasing criminal activity by adding more RCMP members and support staff to the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment. While these additions have helped police deal with increased caseloads, it does not address the root causes of criminal behaviour and the cycle of crime.
There are a small number of offenders who are responsible for a disproportionate share of the crime taking place. RCMP, municipal, judiciary and correctional resources are being taxed by people who reoffend. In order to effectively reduce crime, there must be adequate deterrents in place as well as appropriate and timely preventative efforts, such as counseling, treatment, affordable housing options, outreach and restorative justice.
The Integrated Community Safety Task Force will have a focused interagency collaboration on crime, identifying opportunities for improved systems, processes and initiatives in Chilliwack. Representatives from Fraser Health, Crown Counsel, BC Corrections, the RCMP, social service providers, Judiciary, the Indigenous community and more will create an integrated approach to developing strategies to address crime, taking into consideration adequate deterrents to crime and preventative efforts. The task force will collaboratively inventory the work done to date and look for interagency gaps and opportunities.
“The RCMP are just one part of the equation when it comes to addressing crime in our community,” said Mayor Ken Popove. “We hope that this integrated approach helps address root causes and creates a positive impact.”
Since crime has no borders, any systemic improvements that this yields should have a far reaching impact and should benefit other communities facing similar challenges.