City staff have been directed to organize a town hall-style public meeting to look at public safety and crime in Parksville.
The motion was put forward by Coun. Mark Chandler at the Nov. 4 council meeting and was carried at the Nov. 18 meeting.
The exact format of the meeting has yet to be determined, but it would be a discussion open to the public that would involve various stakeholders in public safety such as local RCMP, city of Parksville bylaw staff, Parksville councillors and the Mayor, among others.
The date of the meeting has not yet been determined.
Chandler says he was inspired by a similar event in Nanaimo he attended last month that looked at solutions to the large spike in crime around Nanaimo’s Newcastle and downtown area.
“We found it quite encouraging because they had a really good crowd of people, probably 400 in attendance that evening,” said Chandler.
He’s hoping to stimulate community involvement in crime prevention, encouraging people to do their part by keeping an eye on their neighbourhoods and taking preventative measures like locking their vehicle doors.
“It’s more a preventative crime session than it is a chance to point fingers at what’s happening and who’s doing what. I think more than anything, we got to realize we’ve got to come together as a community and fight crime together, as opposed to standing behind a set of curtains and looking out,” said Chandler.
“We’re not talking about everybody becoming some sort of a sheriff in town, but just to basically make sure everybody’s doing their part. … Crime stays away from an area where a flashlight’s shining.”
On Tuesday Nov. 19, Maclean’s Magazine released their annual numbers on crime data in Canadian cities, based off Statistics Canada’s measure of all police-reported crime.
Parksville ranked eighth out of 237 Canadian cities in a five-year change in the crime severity index, stating that the city has seen a 53.32% rise in crime over that time period.
“Those are big numbers,” said Chandler. “We all want to see a solution to it. If nothing else, we can start on it now and kind of work towards a five year plan.”
Council also approved a motion by Chandler to explore various provincial and federal funding options available to help with crime prevention in the community. Chandler says he wants to see different levels of government get involved to help share the cost of public safety in the city.