Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr. File photo

Abbotsford police chief mulls more enforcement of homeless lawbreakers

‘When all else has failed we have to hold people accountable,’ Police Chief Mike Serr tells council

The Abbotsford Police Department may soon look to clamp down on homeless people who are engaged in criminal or harassing behaviour, Chief Mike Serr told council last week.

Serr said the department will remain focused on first trying to help people living on the streets, but that those who break laws and bylaws also need to be held “accountable” for their actions.

“We are always going to be a caring department that is going to try to find them pathways of care and help,” Serr said. But he added: “I think we’ve lacked the enforcement side at times.”

Serr said a small group of the homeless “are doing a disproportionate amount of crime in our community.”

And he said he has heard from property and business owners frustrated by “significant” shoplifting and thefts, as well as those concerned about panhandling near roadways.

“I do want to identify the smaller group who are really causing the most significant issues and concerns in our community, trying to find them the pathways to getting them the help and the services that they need,” Serr said.

He said the city has a variety of programs and initiatives to help people on the street, including those causing problems.

“We need to find a way to change behaviours, because what we’re doing now – of not doing anything – I think is getting frustrating for a lot of people.”

Mayor Henry Braun said the justice system also needs to be engaged in the issue.

“Our justice system comes into play here, too, because if we move on the enforcement side and nothing happens, it’s just a revolving door,” he said.

Braun has previously said he wishes police, rather than Crown counsel, would have the final say on whether criminal charges are laid in cases.

RELATED: Give police ability to directly lay charges, ‘fed up’ Abbotsford mayor says

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer load onto barge crane

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary hosts pop-up fundraiser in Sidney

Temporary store to feature unique hand made gifts, collectibles, clothing, books and more

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read