Province teaming up with municipalities to tackle crime

Williams Lake is one of 14 communities chosen to be part of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Crime Prevention, said Mayor Kerry Cook.

“Premier Christy Clark announced the Blue Ribbon panel at the end of the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention and appointed one of her new MLAs Dr. Darryl Plecas to be the lead on this,”  Cook said.

The panel will visit the 14 communities involved in  the panel and will be in Williams Lake the end of January.

“What is exciting about this, is this is a philosophical shift in reducing crime. Instead of the traditional approach that this is an RCMP problem, this is a community approach to creating healthier, safer communities.”

Cook said the province is looking at an integrated approach to crime reduction across ministries.

It just makes sense, she added.

“Health is involved, social services is involved. In a small ad-hoc informal level, Williams Lake has been doing some of these things with getting all of our partners at the table.”

Dr. Plecas will have until June 14, 2014  to put together a recommendation to Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton and government for crime reduction opportunities and a plan for implementation.

Plecas has been mandated as panel chair to consult with stakeholders, review existing crime reduction initiatives and identify potential gaps and challenges.

Cook, however, said in Williams Lake some of the challenges have already been identified.

When the community met to look at issues in Boitanio Park those gaps became more apparent.

“I am a firm believer in the need for collaboration. These are not simple issues, these are systemic issues and we’ve been trying to dig down into some of the root issues if we want long-term change. It’s not a matter of just throwing new money at it, we have to do things differently. We need to have everybody at the table and we need the support from government.”

Cook said it’s exciting the province is willing to wade into a difficult cross-ministry integrated approach.

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