Williams Lake’s Mayor Walt Cobb said he is prepared to write victim impact statements to let the court system know how crime is affecting the community.
“We need the courts to be more responsible,” he told the Tribune. “I will go to court and make an impact statement on how it’s affecting our community, whether it be safety issues, or whether it be the fact we have trouble encouraging professionals to come to our community because of our crime stats.”
Cobb made the comments after Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting where council discussed a proposed Williams Lake 6-Point Crime Action Plan.
The plan endorses adding initiatives to use available technology to monitor released offenders.
Secondly, it asks the RCMP to pursue all available opportunities to seize proceeds of crime and offence-related property using the provincial Civil Forfeiture process to return those funds to the City’s policing budget.
Thirdly, council supports deploying cameras to enhance police evidence collection on serious crimes in strategically selected areas.
Fourthly, the plan supports directing persons charged with serious offences such as sexual assault be required to wear an electric monitoring device while at large in Williams Lake.
Fifthly, the plan asks the Crown and the courts to consider in writing, not the just the rights of the accused, but the rights of the community to not be victims of offences committed by persons with extensive criminal histories. The courts will also be asked to articulate in writing their rationale for releasing offenders without appropriate monitoring.
Finally, the plan supports the creation of a court watch program to ensure citizens can observe and report on the decisions of the courts and whether these decisions place appropriate value on the rights of citizens not to be victims of crime and ensure that broader community concerns are reflected in the decisions of the courts as they relate to the release, sentencing and monitoring of offenders who demonstrate a history of failing to abide by release conditions.
“It’s time the courts stepped up to the plate and helped us,” Cobb said. “The police are doing their job, the communities are doing their job, but the courts are letting them out.”
As it was a committee of the whole meeting, no final decisions or motions were passed about the plan, but items from COW meetings are referred to regular council meetings for further discussions and possible adoption.