column was published in the North
Shore News on
June 14, 2000)
failing to protect its citizens
By Leo Knight
I try to explain to you the inherent problems with the criminal
justice system. The system, such as it is, is broken. From top
And nowhere is it in more dire shape than right here in Pitiful British Columbia. Through too many years of social engineering by the hand-wringing socialists and the blissful ignorance of the federal power-brokers, our justice system is on the verge of collapse.
crime is flourishing and the ramifications are affecting every
one of us. Equally, the system is seemingly incapable of
delivering any meaningful consequences to those who do get
arrested, charged and brought before a court. No consequences,
no problems and the criminal activity continues unabated.
Can continues to trumpet a falling crime rate and the
politicians try to use skewed numbers to somehow justify their
inaction. But the reality on the streets today is a vastly
trying to tell the true story to you, the reader, I try to bring
real stories and events to illustrate the nature and scope of
the problem. But, this week, I want to give the stage to one of
week I received an e-mail from a North Vancouver couple whose
neighbourhood is under siege. I have not used their full name to
protect them against any retribution, but the rest of the letter
is published here in its entirety. Their frustration is evident
and, a stark example of the inadequacies of our justice system.
off, let me state I enjoy your articles. Second, I support the
men and women of our police force 100%. But events have occurred
in my neighborhood that puzzle me. We are, to put it plainly,
under weekly attacks.
the weekend, teens gather in our community park. I can put up
with the drinking, noise and other such activity, but this
weekend stunned even me. A group of neighbourhood teens went on
a rampage that left car and homeowners angry and amazed.
from reports in the neighbourhood the events started with
setting fires in the park and nearby streets at around 11 p.m.
Then by 1:30 a.m. I was awakened (I live a few blocks from the
park) by the noise of teens. I looked out my window in time to
see a group breaking into my neighbour's car. I then watched
shocked, while searching for my cordless phone in the dark, as
they removed small items and a large box of full soda cans.
then, with great delight, aimed full cans at the neighbourhood
cars. Pitching like rookies at a big league tryout. From all
reports they had gone down the street breaking front and back
windows of vans, denting cars and stealing. My neighbour
followed in his van to see if he could get some of his things
back, only to be turned on as the teens tried to reach into his
car to attack him. His car was pelted. I and perhaps dozens of
others called 9-1-1. The results? The youths apparently told
police that they were waiting for a taxi. The police just told
them to go home.
me, but what is going to happen next week? Or, to my poor
neighbour ... do you think they will be back? I'd bet the farm
on that one. Already two weekends in a row he has had problems.
Last week a rock was put through his window.
is that the new law: get in a large enough group and you can
bully an entire community? We have endured a string of tires
having screws put into them, bikes and even motorcycles stolen,
car windows smashed, fences destroyed, trees being snapped in
half, fires started and theft.
can walk into a home and take what they want ... because they
are with a drunken mob.
the big question, where on earth are the parents? I am not
attacking the cop on the street, because I know they are doing
their best, but what is left for us to do? Continue to shell out
insurance payments to fix windows, dents, and fire damage?
this situation continues somebody is going to get hurt this
summer as the weather warms and teens have long summer nights
... perhaps a frustrated homeowner taking things into their own
hands or the kids.
can we do to get some peace, beyond lighting up the 9-1-1
callboard like a Christmas tree every weekend? Only to have the
naughty darlings sent home to sleep it off and save up their
beer pennies for next weekend. Perhaps you could tell me?
don't know what to tell M.W. Clearly, there are no easy answers.
Equally clear is that the system, as it exists, is totally
have said many times that the first and foremost duty of any
government is to protect its citizenry. In that, both our
federal and provincial governments have failed miserably.