A prescription for crime prevention

Langley City Community Crime Prevention Task Force files report

A wide-ranging set of recommendations from the Langley City Community Crime Prevention Task Force could, among other things, lead to municipal bylaws  that require grocery stores to keep shopping carts from leaving their property, putting up “no panhandling” signs at major intersections and increased RCMP foot and bike patrols.

Those are among several suggested measures to prevent and reduce crime in the community contained in the 35-page final report of the task force received at Monday’s council meeting.

“A lot of time, a lot of effort went into this,” Langley City mayor Ted Schaffer said.

Schaffer chaired the group of community members and representatives of  business groups and law enforcement agencies who looked for success stories from other communities in Canada, the U.S. the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand to develop specific measures to fight crime.

Among the many other potential “goals and measurable outcomes” mentioned in the report are suggested municipal bylaws to regulate methadone dispensaries and possibly creating community action teams to fight vandalism.

“We believe that the measurable outcomes identified by the task force provide a well-balanced plan to combat and deter crime in the community,” Schaffer said.

Many of the proposals are within the power of the City, but some will require approval and funding from other levels of government, such as the suggested no-panhandling signs at intersections under provincial control, and funding for an “Assertive Community Treatment” team to work with adults who have “serious and persistent mental illness and significant functional impairments who have not connected with, or responded well to traditional outpatient mental health and rehabilitation services.”

The report now goes to the municipal Public Safety Advisory Committee, which will review the task force suggestions and come up with a list of the top “measurable outcomes” for council to approve.

Schaffer said with the report, the task force completed its mandate and has been disbanded.

“I want to thank each member of the task force for their effort and involvement with the development of the Community Crime Prevention Strategic Plan” Schaffer said.

The report referred to RCMP statistics that show a “downward trend on most offences” in the City, with a few exceptions, including a “significant increase in auto theft and theft from auto offences” considered to be a problem throughout Metro Vancouver, not just Langley.

While the police stats show an increase in sexual offences in the City,  most of those cases “are related to individuals known to each other” the report states.

There has been a drop in assaults, robberies, home invasions, and break-ins at homes and businesses.

The report also notes Langley City has already implemented a number of crime reduction measures over the years, such as adding more police resources, requiring owners to remove graffiti within 10 days and regulating the sale of “hydroponics equipment and drug paraphernalia.”