The Cowichan Valley is in crime crisis

The Cowichan Valley is in crime crisis

The Valley is going through a crisis that I have never experienced anywhere that I have ever lived.

The Cowichan Valley is in crime crisis

The Valley is going through a crisis that I have never experienced anywhere that I have ever lived. In the last several months my niece was hit by a rock thrown from a car, my truck received a smashed window and items stolen (valuable to me but likely worthless to the thief), my tenant had their bike stolen from a secure location, my office was broken into, two of my neighbours had their houses B&E’d and my neighbourhood convenience store (Coronation Market) was held up at knife point. These are just my recent personal experiences. There was also a gentleman hospitalized, probably by the same rock thrower as my niece, an elderly woman was beaten at an ATM, needles discarded at local elementary schools and in Charles Hoey Park. This is a list that barely skims the surface. I have come across so many victims of crime that it is truly staggering and could easily fill an entire newspaper page.

Duncan is no longer safe, many residents and businesses are paying money to protect themselves with security gates, fences, cameras. I have heard people talking that they are going to start taking things into their own hands (I do not condone vigilantism) which will only lead to a further downward spiralling of our town.

Clearly, drugs are the problem, not social housing as some would like us to believe. VIHA’s mandate is to help the people at the their door who need the help (I get that); however, it is not in their mandate to consider community residents when they deal with addiction issues. A safe injection site would certainly save the lives of many addicts but would likely turn our town into a ‘mini-Eastside’. Realistically, it is up to the police to keep us safe but they are clearly being overworked and overwhelmed by the problems currently plaguing our Valley.

The City of Duncan, for quite a few years has been taxing residents close to $1 million a year in anticipation of increased policing costs when our population reaches 5,000 people. That money is currently being spent on infrastructure projects. I think it’s time to reduce the ‘extra’ infrastructure projects in favour of expanding our police force by four members as is being reasonably requested by our local police chief.

It is time for our politicians to take a hard look at the factors that have led to Duncan being the drug and crime capital of Vancouver Island and take some immediate steps to insuring the safety of its citizens.

Martin Barker

Duncan