“Multiple teenagers, predominantly in pickups” attempted to engage in fights and violence with members of the community’s homeless population Friday night (Sept. 30) in Campbell River’s downtown core.
“Police are not blind to the frustration that is being caused by the crime that accompanies homeless-addiction issues, but clearly this type of vigilante justice is not an effective way to deal with the community’s social ills and simply adds to them,” Const. Maury Tyre, RCMP media liaison officer, said in a Facebook post. “Add to the fact that most of these teens were highly intoxicated and you have an extreme recipe for disaster, one that could very well end tragically with someone’s death. As none of the youth were 19, it was not as if they had ventured into the downtown core late at night to enjoy the night life and something bad happened, they were there for one reason only.”
Several of the youth and young adults were apprehended by police and the incident is under investigation.
“It truly was the saddest of situations,” said Const. Tyre. “A group of privileged youth taking on some of our town’s least privileged and hoping to provoke a street war. In recent weeks, similar events have occurred where jacked up pickups have chased and egged the homeless and thrown rocks.
“The property crimes that are committed due to addiction are an excessive problem, yes, and homeless camps in the downtown core do look dreadful. But attacking the homeless only encourages them to arm themselves and makes the situation infinitely more dangerous as the drug induced paranoia can lead many to believe that any citizen passing by is out to get them. Quite frankly our community is better than this, and these young people should be ashamed of their actions.”
If you have any information related to these young people and their actions, the RCMP are asking you to contact them at 250-286-6221.
This story has been corrected to show the date of the incident as Friday, Sept. 30.