Letter: There is no such thing as crime prevention

Re: “Serial criminals a drain on police resources,” Jan. 31, 2014.

Can you actually save money by spending more? No, it is impossible.

I am disappointed that Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford and the editor advocate a defeatist approach to recidivists by treating their crimes as a medical issue.  This province is currently spending over $16 billion on medical services and a mere $1.1 billion on the justice system. Federally, $2.3 billion are spent on penitentiaries. So how do we reduce justice expenditures by raising an already gargantuan health budget?

Of course there should always be collaboration between police and the community to control these offenders. However, at some point, the law must be enforced and criminals punished. Unfortunately, Chief Cessford would prefer to simply maintain order rather than inculcate respect for the law.

I think many - not all - mental illnesses are falsified. The pioneers of Canada never complained about depression spending their whole lives attached to the land.  Mental illness seems so pervasive it tends to be an affliction of affluence.  Its treatment has become a perverse industry. If court time is to be used efficiently then prosecutors and judges should stop wasting time requiring so many psychiatric assessments of the accused.

What about the victims of these recidivists? I guess defeatists like the editor would prefer that they stay silent and learn to appreciate the “context” of the harm done to them while criminals are entitled to therapy for breaking the law.

There is no such thing as crime prevention. It has become an excuse for doing nothing and permitting lawlessness.

Steven Austin

Editor’s note: The Federal Department of Justice’s 2008 report, Costs of Crime in Canada estimated a total cost of more than $31 billion annually to Canadians in tangible expenses resulting from crime, including $15 billion spent on the criminal justice system, $4.8 billion on policing, and $14 billion in direct victim costs. The study also found estimated intangible societal costs of more than $68 billion annually to Canadians. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the cost for policing services alone in B.C. is $1.2 billion annually, with municipalities responsible for close to $800 million of that expense.

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