Why are we seeing a rise in violence in our community?

An increase in violence

What is going on with all of the violence that we are seeing of late?

Has it always been there and we are more aware of it because of social media and recording cell phones? Or Is it increasing?

We see violence on the news and in social media around the world. It is somewhat distant but still unsettling to witness the increasing levels of aggression and unrest.

In France, riots have become a regular occurrence, while the Ukraine-Russia war continues to devastate lives and displace millions. Even in New Zealand, a country typically known for its peaceful nature, protests and counter-protests have led to hostility and division.

But lately it seems like there is more violence even at home.

As a proud member of the Kelowna community, I cannot help but express my growing concern over the escalating violence we are witnessing in our city.

The recent attack on Gagandeep Singh, and the assault on a 15-year-old girl and her friend by a group of other teens this past weekend serve as stark reminders we cannot afford to be complacent in addressing the issue. It is crucial we come together as a community to understand and combat the root causes of this disturbing trend.

Violence is not the answer. Rather, it only exacerbates existing issues and creates more pain and suffering.

If this is true, why is there more violence?

It is clear a stronger focus on public safety is needed now more than ever. This includes investing in community programs, increasing law enforcement presence and working to address the underlying issues that contribute to violence. As a community, we must support these efforts and strive to create an environment where all our residents feel safe and protected.

So where do provincial politicians come in?

In Nanaimo last week, business owners and residents peacefully protested the lack of provincial supports and intervention. I think they are correct.

Our elected officials have a significant role to play in this process. It is their responsibility to listen to the concerns of their constituents and engage in meaningful conversations about the issues affecting our communities. They also give this feedback to the public safety minister, who can instruct the RCMP to increase its activities to protect public safety.

Despite a year of prodding by my B.C. Liberal colleagues, in addition to the general public, it is only in the last few months any action has been taken.

But there is more that can be done.

Government must be proactive in addressing the factors that contribute to violence. It is only through its leadership and commitment that we can hope to see real change.

As a community, it is time for us to wake up and recognize the urgency of this situation. We must come together to address the rising violence in Kelowna and beyond.

Let’s engage in open and honest dialogue, focusing on the root causes of these issues and work collectively to create a safer, more peaceful world for everyone.

My question to you this week is this:

Do you feel safe in Kelowna?

I love hearing from you. Please email me at [email protected] or call the office at 250-712-3620.

Renee Merrifield is the B.C. Liberal MLA for Kelowna-Mission.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Renee Merrifield is the BC United MLA for Kelowna - Mission and the Opposition critic for Environment and Climate Change, as well as Gender, Equity and Inclusion.  She currently serves on the Select Standing Committee for Finance as well.

A long-time resident of Kelowna, Renee started, and continues to lead, many businesses from construction and development to technology. Renee is a compassionate individual who cares about others in the community, believes in giving back and helping those in need through service.

She values your feedback and conversation, and can be reached at [email protected] or 250.712.3620

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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