The BC NDP says it is pointless to enforce the laws by arresting criminals and has no plans to arrest its way out of the province’s crime issues.
According to British Columbia’s attorney general, arresting criminals is “futile” in fighting crime.
“We are committed to ending the cycle of reoffending and keeping people from becoming offenders in the first place,” said Rankin. “Simply arresting people out of the situation we know is going to be futile. We need to do so much more and that is what we’re doing.”
Opposition Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon roasted the the BC NDP in the legislature that the governments continued “catch-and-release” policy quickly releases repeat offenders back in to the community despite being accused of violent crimes.
On page 76 of the prolific offenders report, probation officers from several regions of the province shared similar frustrations with respect to charging/sentencing people involved in repeat crime.
For example, a probation officer in a major urban area explained. People being “released into community on bail that definitely pose a significant public safety risk (…) I am talking about machete attacks, attempted murders… these people are being released.” Falcon said
“Criminals emboldened by the lack of enforcement of this government, and four violent random attacks in Vancouver every single day,” he said. “Most recently a young woman in Vancouver followed into her apartment, thrown on the ground and assaulted by a young man. Just the other day.”
The full quote from the report says “We are seeing people be released into community on bail that definitely pose a significant public safety risk; I have had seriously violent individuals on my case load who have demonstrated that they have been committing violence for several years; I am talking about machete attacks, attempted murders… these people are being released. When they do have conditions, the conditions do not even remotely align with what we need to do to supervise them to keep the public safe.”
In some areas of the province it appears to have become acceptable by this government for crime to increase at the expense of public safety. For example on 56 of the prolific offenders report an outreach worker described the DTES as “completely lawless”.
“In some areas, the homeless population has increased, both in large centres and small communities, due to a variety of factors that have reduced the availability of suitable housing. Stakeholders have described the street homelessness problem in Vancouver’s DTES as the worst it has ever been. An outreach worker we spoke to described the DTES as “completely lawless”. The mayor of Sechelt described how the homeless population in her community has increased significantly, and that until a few months ago, the population was mostly locals or locals who had left and returned. But now, they are seeing many new homeless people.”
Even though crime is getting worse in B.C. over the past 5 years, B.C. Attorney General, Murray Rankin said it is “futile” to enforce the law and detain and deny bail to prolific offenders that are at risk of reoffending.
The attorney general raised to nit pick the term “catch and release” saying the federal Criminal Code and Charter of Rights make a right to bail a human right in Canada.
While the attorney general says bail is a constitutional freedom in Canada, Bill C-75 doesn’t make it impossible to detain violent criminals.
“Bill C-75 doesn’t preclude the crown from asking or making sure that the judges seize with evidence that an individual should be held in custody when it is appropriate to do so” Former RCMP officer, now MLA for Surrey South, Elenore Sturko told the BC legislature.
Sturko then advised the BC legislature of a recent sword attack on a store clerk in Abbotsford by a violent individual with a history of violent crimes.
“Crown Counsel are resistant to approving breach of bail conditions on charges unless in addition to a substantive charge, resulting in an emboldening effect.”
Police enforcement, aggressive prosecution, and heavier penalties, according to the report, won’t solve the issue of violent crime; nevertheless, official crime figures might not be a reliable indicator of crime trends in British Columbia.
The report states: “In Terrace, the mayor and a councillor reported, ‘The stats don’t tell the truth. Crime isn’t going down. It’s the worst it’s ever been. People aren’t reporting because there’s no point because they’re out so fast.”‘
Falcon stated that the government has the authority to order Crown prosecutors to detain more people accused of violent crimes, but it has not done so.
Rankin said he will visit Ottawa soon to talk with the federal justice