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Councillor welcomes attention on crime

Williams Lake city council’s support for GPS tracking of prolific offenders has garnered the attention he hoped it would.

Williams Lake city council’s support for GPS tracking of prolific offenders has garnered the attention he hoped it would, said Coun. Scott Nelson Tuesday.

Last week at their regular council meting, Nelson, along with Mayor Walt Cobb, Councillors Craig Smith and Laurie Walters endorsed a resolution supporting GPS tracking on prolific and repeat offenders who are considered risks to their communities. Councillors Ivan Bonnell, Jason Ryll  and Sue Zacharias were absent.

“It certainly picked up the attention we wanted,” Nelson said. “It reached all the way from communities like Williams Lake to Prince George, to Vancouver and all the way over to Ottawa.”

When asked if the idea to implant GPS tracking chips into prolific offenders was embarrassing, Nelson responded with a firm no.

“No. What I’m embarrassed of and frustrated about is we can’t seem to get rid of this top crime ranking,” he said.

“Ultimately, the goal is to push our name off the top of that list. If someone else has a better idea then bring it forward.”

In passing the resolution last week, council said they wanted to raise awareness that a small group of people are causing 80 per cent of the chaos in communities.

Nelson said he stands by his suggestion that injecting GPS tracking chips could be an option.

“If you can put a real time GPS on a telephone, into a vehicle, into animals there is no reason in the world why we can’t put a better system in place, such as real time GPS tracking on prolific offenders,” Nelson said, adding he didn’t care if it’s injected in the arm, the leg or the behind.

“I want to make sure we know where these people are 24/7, 365 days of the year.”

Scott said last Monday afternoon’s robbery of a 14-year-old’s BMX at gunpoint has shone a spotlight on the serious crime problem facing Williams Lake.

“We cannot have the RCMP everywhere 24/7. There are prolific offenders out there that don’t care about Williams Lake, communities or individuals so we have to take the next step to provide protection for our community.”

Cobb said although the media’s frenzy on Nelson’s suggestion of inserting chips “got everything out of whack,” for the most part the response to council’s resolution has been good.

“We’ve had calls from our MP Todd Doherty who attended some of our crime task force meetings we had in the community before he was elected,” Cobb said.

“I’m meeting with him on Saturday and we will set up a game plan before he meets with the federal Minister of Justice next week.”

Cobb said the Boys and Girls Club in Williams Lake is looking at the possibility of co-ordinating adult chaperones for the skate park in the summer months.

“I don’t know if it will work but if people are willing to try something like that, why not?”

Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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