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Columns: If Peary’s ‘Make Gangsters Uncomfortable’ Strategy Fails, What About RCMP?
UPDATED 04/18/10 – COMMENTS RECEIVED – By Mike Archer. The Abbotsford Police DepartmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (APD) decision to make life uncomfortable for known gangsters by getting in their faces has met with approval by residents tired of the cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s title as the Murder Capital of Canada.
People who choose to live outside the law, especially in such a violent and socially destructive manner, deserve no sympathy for having their lives disrupted by police officers keeping a close eye on them.
It also has to be said that, mired as he is in the Abbotsford Heat political fiasco, Mayor George Peary has to be enjoying talking less about the blunders of the previous council, and his own multi-million dollar follow-up boondoggle, and more about the anti-crime platform on which he was elected.
After accusing Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gates of appealing to the lowest common denominator in her hometown when she refused to use her free Olympic tickets, Peary is now doing the same thing.
Fighting crime is always a surefire winner at the polls – especially in Abbotsford.
Before he allows the APD to go ahead with the idea of publicizing the names of the Top Ten gangsters in Abbotsford, he ought to consult the municipal lawyer he claims to spend so much time with these days.
Let’s also hope he’s consulted the people of Mission, Chilliwack, Aldergrove and Langley about the fact that he seems intent of having our gangsters move out of town … presumably to their towns.
He will find that publishing a list of peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s names who have not been charged with nor convicted of a crime is illegal. Even if his lawyer finds a way around this restriction on his power, he ought still to think twice before throwing our civil rights out the window because of his police forceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inability to arrest criminals.
Holding people up to public ridicule and shame because you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t arrest them for a crime is the kind of stuff veterans from Abbotsford fought and died in order to stop.
If the APD is unable to arrest the criminals in our community using the powers theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been given, resorting to a Scarlet Letter campaign is not the way to go about it. It may get cheers from the political bleachers but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not the way we do things in Canada Ã¢â‚¬â€œ or the rest of the civilized world.
While the threat to go public sounds very much like political hot air, it should give all citizens of Abbotsford pause to realize that our Mayor and Police Chief would even suggest such a thing.
The fact that the cop on the front of the Abbotsford Times, looking tough in order to get message out, is the forceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s public relations officer, ought also to remind us of the last time the City of Abbotsford asked for the mediaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s help getting the message out.
That little PR (Plan A) campaign has cost us plenty so far.
After all the posters have been published, the SWAT teams sent out to bother the gang members and the press releases and photos published we will have to evaluate, as a community, whether all of the PR has worked or not.
If weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re still CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Murder Capital a year from now and the gangs donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t show any sign of caring about being made uncomfortable in Abbotsford, we will have to reconsider the whole Peary-APD Ã¢â‚¬ËœMake Crime UncomfortableÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ strategy.
Until then, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hope it actually has an impact. If this doesn’t work, maybe we should look at whether asking the RCMP to tackle policing issues in Abbotsford might be cheaper and more effective.