Letters: Standing at a crossroads of crime

The current spate of rising crime is just not a Chilliwack problem, it’s become universal across the nation, writer says.

The current spate of rising crime is just not a Chilliwack problem, it’s become universal across the nation. For many of us born among the baby boom generation, the current level of crime is a dilemma that is hard to fathom. As a post-war generation, we were born in the driver’s seat. Jobs were plentiful, education needs were minimal, drugs basically didn’t exist, and alcoholic habits were cheap to maintain.

For the current generations of x and y, it’s a brand new ball game. Though some jobs are plentiful, they are mainly of the low paying variety. Good jobs now are high-tech in nature, and are generally reserved for those at the upper end of the education system, which in itself has priced itself out of the market for the average family.

No longer can one drop out of grade ten and expect to find a job, that you could save enough on your own to eventually purchase your own home.

On top of that, our universities are crammed full with top students from all over the world. Not only does one have to compete for a university seat against fellow Canadians, but also with top students from other countries.

This dilemma has created a lot of discouraged people throughout the communities, that see no hope and have turned to other methods of raising capital, or finding ways to hide and medicate, what seems to them, an endless abyss of downward spiralling. Many now have become mentally challenged, and have given up on themselves altogether.

We are now at the crossroads, of sink or swim, in dealing with this crisis situation. It doesn’t matter where you go, there are tent cities or homeless camps everywhere. We can no longer just leave it up to our police to deal with people, who are more mentally ill than criminal, and expect them to solve our problem.

If we believe that we can just throw money at it, and it will go away, we are seriously mistaken as well.

It is time, as a people and a nation, that we get over our own self-righteous indignation, and start to deal with these people, this problem, in a humane and progressive manner.

We can no longer kick the most destitute people of our land to the curb. We can’t expect that housing them in one room slum apartments and giving them $125 a month is going to make the problem go away.

In actuality, this method costs us more than doing the right thing. The right thing being treating them the same way you would treat your own family. In 2013, a Vancouver survey found that we spend $129,600 per homeless person to keep them on the street. Not only is this ludicrous, it’s down right evil.

It is time to do what Elizabeth May, and the Green Party of Canada, campaigned on in the last Federal election. That is, a Guaranteed Liveable Income. Though this may sound incredibly expensive, in reality, we cannot afford not to, and it would be at least five times cheaper than what we are doing now.

If we combined this with other social programs, such as housing first, social assistance, employment insurance, income tax, and revamped our vagrancy laws, we could undoubtably get rid of all the tent cities, homeless camps, and deal with all the individual issues, whether they’re mental or financial.

Admittedly, it wouldn’t be simple. There will always be resisters, but anything is better than watching people rot in front of your eyes, or steal tricycles out of your yard, or pee and defecate on the streets.


Art Green,