Question: What steps would you take as mayor to make citizens feel safer in their community?
Cameron Hull: To ensure safety in Chilliwack we need a three pronged plan:
One, more investment in local programs that are proven to lessen crime. For example Restorative Justice.
Two, more investment in police. With that, discussion with and direction to the RCMP as to where the resources should be used. Beat cops for example.
Three, co-operation with Abbotsford PD. Many of the serious criminals we are dealing with, Abbotsford also deals with. We need to co-ordinate with our neighbours to help us all.
Sharon Gaetz: Through the hard work of the Public Safety Advisory Committee, we have been able to make great strides in crime reduction. Auto theft is down 36 per cent according to an RCMP briefing to council. We remind citizens to lock up, as 50 per cent of the loss is attributed to unlocked vehicles.
People deserve to feel safe. Education, prevention and enforcement are all strategies that we will continue to employ and fund.
Those who continue to offend should not be on our streets. The recent murders in Chilliwack are alleged to have been committed by someone with a lengthy record. We have at least eight prolific offenders in our community who commit most of the crime. The courts must help by taking these thugs off the street with lengthy and appropriate sentencing.
Raymond Cauchi: I would begin by encouraging people to engage with their neighbours. I would promote neighbour gatherings and attend. I would begin a dialogue about how knowing who your neighbours are and getting to know them is a key part of feeling safe.
I would look into the diverting of funds to increase the presence and response time of first responders in targeted neighbourhoods. Every neighbourhood has unique needs and I would not want to direct resources to where they are not needed.
I would then look into increasing the amount of new migration into the neighbourhood either in the form of new families or new business depending on need.
And, while this is occurring I would look to increase social services to help those citizens who are not yet criminalized by the system.