From L to R: RCMP Const. Cameron Nay, Bylaw Enforcement Ben Fryer from City of Chilliwack, RCMP Cpl. Mike Rail, Allegiance Security Len Bridges, Griffin Security Jared Larrabie, RCMP Supt. Deanne Burleigh and Brian Goldstone of Griffin Security. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress photo) (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress photo )

Downtown patrol in Chilliwack presents a unified front of enforcement

So what is the street patrol accomplishing? Increasing respect, says the Top Cop in Chilliwack

Daily patrols have been hitting the streets of downtown Chilliwack since May.

The Progress joined the patrol members on a two-hour walkabout early Friday morning with RCMP, City of Chilliwack Bylaw Enforcement, Griffin Security and Allegiance 1 Security, to see what’s up.

The overriding goal and purpose of the street patrols is presenting a “unified approach” that is visible, said Chilliwack RCMP Supt. Deanne Burleigh.

“It’s to ensure that the citizens, the business owners of the city, know that the bylaws and laws are being enforced,” she said. “It’s not illegal to be homeless; it’s not illegal to be addicted; it’s not illegal to have a mental health issue — but the crime around all of that is illegal.”

For many citizens, business people and home owners, it’s the utter lack of respect shown by many on the street that’s so galling. The number of homeless tripled in recent years.

The stolen bikes, smashed windows, the garbage, the feces — are still in evidence.

But the number of those living rough seems to have decreased in the downtown specifically, maybe with some drifting over to the south side from Chilliwack proper.

At 7:30 a.m. on a Friday morning, there are surprisingly few homeless people hanging around, but those who are seen by the patrol group in uniform, all get a friendly “Hi, how are you doing?”

Most know the drill by now.

“Some of these guys, we’ve done so much for, to try to get them off the streets,” said Brian Goldstone, head of Griffin Security. “You just bang your head, we’ve had some successes. But not often.”

But there are those who won’t seek help.

“They have to be ready. You can’t take them into treatment if they’re not ready,” said Supt. Burleigh.

Discussions are ongoing with Fraser Health about the number of residential treatment options.

“So it’s just been a combined effort from everyone in the city,” she said.

Early on in the patrol they confiscated every shopping cart on the street and returned them to the stores.

On this morning, they are stopping everyone they see riding a bike and not wearing a helmet. Some of the serial numbers are called in to see if they’re stolen.

“Our biggest problem is they come up to us at night. They are soaking wet or they have just been beaten up,” said Goldstone about those who do seek help.

Especially in the middle of the night, when there’s no help to be had, it’s hard.

“There is nowhere to take them at night. I can’t say, ‘OK it’s Friday and we can do something Monday.’ It’s too late by then.”

There has to be a willingness to go through the intake process, which can require patience, and that often isn’t there.

Several have been successfully brought into treatment.

“It just takes the facility and the properly-trained people,” Goldstone said. “We need to be able to drive them there, drop them off and there you go.”

In the meantime, the downtown patrols continue a few times a day.

Some have been wondering what possible impact the very visible patrol effort by uniformed personnel could be having.

Is it making a difference? If so, what does that look like?

“What we’ve seen is a little bit of a transition towards respect among some of the homeless people,” answered Supt. Burleigh. “They are cleaning up after themselves, they know what time they have to be out of the parks, they know what time the tents have to come down.

“On the other side of the coin, some have dispersed from the downtown core, and they are moving to other areas, which we are also patrolling, to make sure that that respect increases.”


Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress Anyone spotted by the downtown patrol riding a bike without a helmet is stopped for a chat and possible ticket under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Just Posted

UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Chilliwack homeless camp given eviction notice

Inside the camp that will be removed by Monday RCMP according to trespass notice

Missing Chilliwack teen found ‘safe and sound’

Boy found just as mother was organizing search

Chilliwack Rotary club reports $4,200 theft at storage shed

Rotary Train Shed adjacent to homeless camp on reserve land broken into Oct. 15

Rainfall warning issued across Lower Mainland into the weekend

50 to 70 mm of rain expected to fall starting overnight Friday and into Sunday morning

UPDATE: Chilliwack mother issues plea for info on missing son

Informal search party organized for 13-year-old boy not seen since Thursday

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

VIDEO: Body discovered at scene of dumpster fire behind Langley City mall

Area behind furniture store taped off after firefighters find deceased woman while battling blaze

Most Read