Crime task force set
The mayor and councillors Dave Wilbur, Brian Skakun and Garth Frizzell will sit on a mayor’s task force on crime, an initiative introduced by Mayor Shari Green during Monday’s council meeting.
Green said making the city safer has been a priority of this council and many councils before it. The task force will draw in a number of stakeholders in an effort to strategize initiatives to reduce crime in the city.
“I think you’ll see Supt. Eric Stubbs on the committee,” Green said in an interview following Monday’s meeting.
She added the RCMP as well as several other organizations, including Community Policing and the Downtown Enforcement Unit (DEU), are very interested in the task force.
Green said it’s not about reinventing the wheel, and added they will draw on the work of previous committees, like the anti-gang summit in 2011. They will also use information gathered regarding a similar initiative taken by the municipal government in Surrey, looking at what was successful there but applying strategies specific to Prince George.
During the council meeting, the mayor pointed out Prince George has been named Canada’s most dangerous city by Macleans magazine three years running, a notorious label that detracts from the fact the city has already made significant progress, improving its crime ranking from 11th to 14th according to data by Statistics Canada.
In a further explanation regarding some of the projects undertaken to improve the city’s atmosphere and reduce criminal activity, Green mentioned community policing activities, community poverty reduction and housing strategies, community enhancement and beautification projects, leisure access programs and Communities that Care (crime prevention through social development).
She pointed out the Officer of the Year award, presented by Crime Stoppers and received by Const. Danny Grieve of the DEU, who constantly uses the tips brought in by that organization to acquire search warrants which have lead to ridding the city of illicit drugs, is another positive initiative in the city.
Youth initiatives, Green added, support crime reduction in the city as well.
“I am looking forward to pulling together all these pieces of work, including what came out of the crime summit,” she said.
She added there may be initiatives that never got off the ground that need to be looked at again. Bringing these back to the surface while analyzing those that worked well will be part of the work of the committee.
Neighbourhood components will play a part in the task force, including identifying the toughest areas of the city.
Green added she thinks this a good time to take this issue on.
“I think the timing is good now,” she said. “I think it’s a real opportunity.”