Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr. File photo

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

The Abbotsford Police Department may soon look to clamp down on homeless people who are engaged in criminal or harassing behaviour, Chief Mike Serr told council last week.

Serr said the department will remain focused on first trying to help people living on the streets, but that those who break laws and bylaws also need to be held “accountable” for their actions.

“We are always going to be a caring department that is going to try to find them pathways of care and help,” Serr said. But he added: “I think we’ve lacked the enforcement side at times.”

Serr said a small group of the homeless “are doing a disproportionate amount of crime in our community.”

And he said he has heard from property and business owners frustrated by “significant” shoplifting and thefts, as well as those concerned about panhandling near roadways.

“I do want to identify the smaller group who are really causing the most significant issues and concerns in our community, trying to find them the pathways to getting them the help and the services that they need,” Serr said.

He said the city has a variety of programs and initiatives to help people on the street, including those causing problems.

“We need to find a way to change behaviours, because what we’re doing now – of not doing anything – I think is getting frustrating for a lot of people.”

Mayor Henry Braun said the justice system also needs to be engaged in the issue.

“Our justice system comes into play here, too, because if we move on the enforcement side and nothing happens, it’s just a revolving door,” he said.

Braun has previously said he wishes police, rather than Crown counsel, would have the final say on whether criminal charges are laid in cases.

RELATED: Give police ability to directly lay charges, ‘fed up’ Abbotsford mayor says

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 liability protection for essential workers

Provincial government taking steps to limit operators from being sued

Prince Rupert seniors are often not able to purchase groceries

Shopping hours, panic buying makes basic essentials extremely difficult for those at high risk

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

Bachrach to donate salary hike to community organizations

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP among growing list of MPs giving raise away amid economic crisis

Coast Mountain College sets up student emergency fund

It’ll provide grocery store gift cards for students affected by COVID-19 crisis

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

Most Read