“Enough is enough,” was one of the key themes as residents gathered in Nanaimo’s Pearson Park.
Yesterday a public safety rally drew a crowd to the small park to listen to multiple speakers talk about their experiences with crime in their communities.
“We know this needs to change now,” said Nanaimo and Area Safety Association’s Collen Middleton, “and the provincial government has the authority to make this better. So they need to actually do something! It’s not our job as citizens to tell them how to solve these problems. We’re the ones with the problems, and we have votes. And we have a mind, eyes, ears— we’re not stupid! We know what’s happening!”
The recent shooting that put Clint Smith in the hospital was a hot topic at the rally, with a member of Smith’s family attending and giving an update on his health. Many at the rally wore shirts emblazoned with ‘Justice for Clint.’
Smith’s family has been thankful for the support they have received from the community.
Middleton spoke further to cheers from the crowd that citizens were not vigilantes for trying to retrieve what was stolen from them.
“If no one’s going to help,” said Middleton, “if no one’s going to step in, then what are we left with? Enough was enough a long time ago.”
Members from Citizens Take Action Dawson Creek and Clean Streets Penticton spoke, relating the current situation in Nanaimo to their own, and gave their opinions on how things could be changed.
“Addiction is for certain a health condition, but the subsequent negative social consequences of addiction are not. That’s where the gap lies. Our police, they’re the ones meant to keep us safe. And they’re handcuffed! They’re not given the authority or the guidance in order to address the problem and work with us to help us maintain our safety and security. That’s wrong,” said Clean Streets Penticton’s Shannon Stewart. “I just got word this morning there were two police officers in Edmonton that lost their lives responding to a domestic dispute. If they can’t keep themselves safe, how are we supposed to engage and rely on them in order to keep ourselves safe?”
Dwayne Dilworth from Citizens Take Action Dawson Creek said addiction is a battle he was familiar with, being an ex-addict, but it’s something you can win if you’re willing.
Speakers also included politicians like former conservative candidate Tamara Kronis and Surrey MLA Elenore Sturko.
Nanaimo’s Mayor, Leonard Krog, also appeared at the end of the rally to say crime has gotten people frustrated enough to the point where they would put their life in danger to take back stolen items.