Editorial: In the thick of it

If people didn’t hear about Williams Lake and its ongoing crime problem before Monday, they likely have now.

If people didn’t hear about Williams Lake and its ongoing crime problem before Monday, they likely have now.

Our city had the dubious honour of being the top story on most news outlets Monday after the RCMP and School District 27 made the decision to close schools while police investigated a shooting at a residence along Western Avenue near Columneetza. Their fear was that there was a second shooter on the loose in the area, which has four schools in close proximity.

Although disruptive and disturbing, closing schools and asking residents to stay indoors was the right thing to do. It is always better to err on the side of caution in these volatile situations.

But this latest crime — which terrified residents and once again shone an ugly light on our beautiful city — may well have been avoided if the powers that be would just act on repeated requests for help.

We have had multiple incidents of violent, gang-related crime occurring in our city for weeks, months and even years now. We have reported on beatings, robberies, murders and near-misses regularly in the paper these days it seems and yet requests for more police funding is falling on deaf ears.

Maybe it’s time we start to take a long, hard look at the need to increase taxes to pay for our own policing.

It’s not a popular choice but what other option do we have?

If the city continues to be the name that comes up when people talk about violent crime problems in small communities, we will lose some of our brightest citizens to relocation, young families will choose not to move here at all and our property values will suffer. Our quality of life has already been impacted.

If the provincial and federal governments won’t help us, maybe it’s time we help ourselves.

– Williams Lake Tribune