Prince Rupert seeking funds to fight crime

The City of Prince Rupert will be applying for funding and looking into forming a committee to prevent crimes during large events.

Following a weekend where “a multitude of crimes happened”, the City of Prince Rupert will be applying for funding and looking into forming a committee to prevent crimes from occurring during large events in Prince Rupert, such as the All Native Basketball Tournament.

Judy Carlick-Pearson and Anna Ashley raised the matter at the last city council meeting saying there were a number of issues that arose during the recent All Native Qualifying Tournament.

Coun. Ashley suggested the city apply for funding from a $1 million program aiming to reduce crime. The funding can be used for crime prevention and domestic violence programs for projects that develop or enhance domestic violence units, prevent sexual exploitation or human trafficking of vulnerable girls and prevent youth crime.

Ashley said there are a lot of positives associated with the All Native Basketball Tournament and receiving funding to prevent crimes during large community events could make it even more so.

“I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. I think the All Native Tournament, and all of these special events that come to our town, are a really good thing. We just want to mitigate the circumstances that bring harm to people in our community. We want to make sure people in the community are protected,” she said.

Coun. Carlick-Pearson agreed, and said the city should form a committee along with representatives from Prince Rupert social services groups to address the issue.

Both Carlick-Pearson and Ashley suggested the group could discuss issues associated with events in Prince Rupert that draw in large crowds from out-of-town, and look at how they could be deterred, whether it be through education and awareness or more activities when games are done for the day.

“By looking at what issues come up from the various social organizations, we can figure it out and make a plan to try and educate and prevent,” Ashley said.

“We’ve been talking about this for about two and a half years now, and now is the time. Our risk right now more than any time is [higher],” Carlick-Pearson said, adding now is the time to act.

“Prince Rupert isn’t the way it use to be 15 to 20 years ago. Remember to make sure your kids are safe. A lot has happened over this past week and it’s worrisome,” she later said.

Const. Matt Ericson, spokesperson for the Prince Rupert RCMP, said in the three years he’s worked in Prince Rupert he has not seen a substantial increase in crime during the All Native Basketball Tournament.

Peter Haugan, president of the All Native Basketball, said he’s not sure where the city is getting this idea from.

“Anytime there’s a big group of people I guess there’s going to be concerns, but the tournament has been really tame over the past few years,” he said.