LETTER: Higher fences could deter residential crime, says Port Alberni writer

Would a six-foot fence stop a home invasion? Maybe.

To the Editor,

Port Alberni has a 20 percent increase in crime, and is named No. 7 worst city in Canada according to McLeans magazine. On Jan. 23 we’ve had 11 reported break-and-enters in Port Alberni, businesses are closing in South Port, people are being banned from uptown Third Avenue business area.

I’m glad for the businesses, but it does not resolve the problem, it only moves it elsewhere and adds to residential crime.

When a commanding officer for the RCMP states that we can’t arrest our way out of this situation it tells me things are going to get worse before they get better.

And then there is the vandalism problem that’s not mentioned anymore.

We are told we don’t have enough police and not enough mental health support or facilities. To me vandalism is a mental health problem.

In the 15 years my wife and I have lived in Port Alberni we have had approximately two thousand dollars’ worth of theft and vandalism. I could go on and I’m sure I’m not alone with this problem.

I would like to ask city council to sit down and consider allowing residential property owners to protect their property by changing the bylaw that only allows for a four-foot-high fence on the street side of a residence, to a six-foot fence.

Commercial property owners are allowed this consideration—is their property more important than a homeowner’s?

I understand that I can build a six-foot fence at this time , and I see many have, but if a neighbour complains it would have to be taken down to four feet.

Would a six-foot fence stop a home invasion? Maybe. If not it could direct it to a more secure area , e.g. a barred door as opposed to a window. It would definitely stop crimes of opportunity (remember the Christmas grinch and residents losing articles of sentimental value from their front yards year round?) .

Perhaps the police would have fewer complaints of vandalism and petty crime and could direct more time to hard crime.

A six-foot fence complaint would be one less thing for our bylaw officer to attend to.

It would cut down on vigilantism.

If vision is a problem on corner lots perhaps see-through chain link fencing could be allowed.

Alex Kaniak,

Port Alberni