Longtime biking advocate Mark Savard said it’s time the city start finding funds for high quality security cameras, this after the disturbing bike robbery of a 14-year-old teen by gunpoint Monday.
“If we don’t have city parks we can use, we might as well pack up and leave,” Savard, owner of Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed, said Tuesday.
“Do we keep spending money on planting flowers around town, or are we going to deal with this crime problem?”
Williams Lake RCMP released video surveillance footage of the violent robbery Tuesday morning. In it, three suspects watch the boy’s bike and skateboard for several minutes before dispersing briefly. One suspect then reappears and intensely walks across the skateboard park raising a gun and pointing it at the teen.
As the one suspect approaches with the gun, the footage shows the other two suspects reappear and assist with the robbery before riding away on the bike.
“It is disturbing and upsetting. What else can you say. It’s awful,” said lakecity mayor Walt Cobb of the crime.
In the wake of the news, Cobb said many immediate responses have been discussed; from the city hiring a security guard to do random patrolling, to improving and adding surveillance cameras, increasing police patrols through the park and so on.
“We can’t let this escalate. We have to get a handle on it. People are getting afraid to leave their homes,” said Cobb. “We have a beautiful park here and people are afraid to use it.”
In the longer term, Cobb is anxiously awaiting staff to arrive for the pilot project Blue Ribbon Panel on Crime Reduction, promised to the city by the Ministry of Justice.
That project, Cobb said, will focus on pulling local agencies together to work on crime and also ensure the prolific offender program is being properly utilized.
He said the citizens of Williams Lake can also be a part of the solution.
“If our community is really serious about (tackling the crime problem) let’s get behind our RCMP, our community policing and get out and volunteer,” he said.
“We can take back our streets if we work together.”
In the meantime, Savard has been accepting donations at his bike shop so the teen victim can get a new bike.
He said any funds beyond the cost of a bike will be used towards the purchase of a high quality video surveillance camera for the community.
“It’s pretty sad,” said Savard.
“I never thought I would ever be talking about this.”