The City of Campbell River’s Safer Downtown plan was unveiled last week with the promise to have it in place by the summer.
It’s good to see the city take the initiative on this. Whether this plan will have an effect on rowdy and threatening behaviour on Campbell River’s downtown streets remains to be seen but it is a first step.
It’s pretty clear to see that the solution to the problem is increased policing. But the RCMP’s participation in the plan is minimal. Now, we recognize that policing is a big ticket budget item but the safety of our citizens on our own streets should be a priority.
The city has found some money for another bylaw officer and will symbolically place its bylaw enforcement office downtown. It will also serve as a base for downtown patrol officers working seven days a week through Footprints Security and as a checkpoint for RCMP foot patrols. Relying on security guards and bylaw officers but not police officers is the flaw in this plan.
Of course, there’s more to this than enforcement. Tackling the ongoing addiction crisis has to be part of any successful plan.
However, the message has been sent that threats to citizens’ safety are not acceptable and, hopefully, this will, indeed, lead to a Safer Downtown.