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Vernon  

Safety concerns in Enderby

Issues of public safety were the topic of discussion at a public meeting in Enderby Monday. 

Some residents have been vocal over their concerns by what is being called 'big city' issues in the small community. 

Like many communities across the country, the proliferation of illicit drugs and a perceived rise in petty crime seems to go hand in hand.

Enderby mayor Greg McCune says the people who came to Monday's meeting to voice their concerns had their questions answered by RCMP and were given suggestions as to how they could reduce the chances of being a victim of crime.

"Part of the information we are giving the community is, there's a change in the way society is now. There are different types of crime," says McCune.  "There is a crime of necessity where someone just needs to get a drug fix. They quickly need twenty dollars and they are going to rummage through whatever unlocked car they can to find anything they can to sell or trade."

McCune says the community has to take responsibility to prevent crimes of necessity and people need to report these crimes to police. 

"We encourage people to please lock their doors. If you have a bike in your yard, please lock it to your patio, because right now that is part of every community."

However, a recent letter to Castanet perhaps sums up the frustration of many in the community.

"I chased a trespasser off my property last Saturday at 1:30 a.m.," wrote the concerned Enderby resident. "This has happened several times this year alone. Several of us neighbours have stopped calling the police as they take up to 50 mins to show up to emergency calls. Calls have been made to City Hall but all you get is lip service. Their response is to set up civilians on patrol."

The letter seems to support what McCune says about some in the community not reporting a crime to police.

So too does the most recent crime stats for Enderby. 

If there is a rise in total crime it is not being reflected in the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP's third-quarter report. 

When the same period from July to September is compared from 2017 to 2018, reported crime in Enderby is down. 

In McCune's opinion, the perceived rise in crime can be contributed to the community not reporting crimes and suspicious behaviours to RCMP, but instead, turning to social media air their frustrations.  

"The biggest reason we had these people come the other night (the Monday meeting) was all of a sudden there are a half a dozen people who want to do vigilante patrolling. So, they want to grab a baseball bat and they want to drive around town until they find someone and they want to beat them."

McCune says the disturbing rhetoric on social media is fueling fears in the community. 

"It is easy for people to sit at home on their computers. It is the four or five people that make comment after comment about how they are getting out there and hurting people. Maybe they should leave their homes and see what an amazing community it is, but it is easier to sit a home and trash the RCMP, the local mayor and the council and their neighbour. That is the sad part of social media." 

Whether it is a rise in crime connected to the proliferation of illicit drugs or the perception of a rise in crime because of rhetoric on social media, for some, like the person who wrote into Castanet with safety concerns, Enderby is changing, and not necessarily for the better.

"I don't feel safe here in my community anymore. This is not what I should have to explain to my son in a community as small as this. This is big city issues, not a country town... We need real solutions. Arrests and removal of this obvious take over of crime that runs freely in this area. Please help us."



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