Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb and the city councillors are requesting the provincial government reinstate the use of electronic monitoring anklets for criminal offenders will help curb crime in the lakecity. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

VIDEO: B.C. mayor urges province to use 24/7 electronic monitoring for offenders

Local politicians pen letter to government asking for electronic monitoring system

Williams Lake city council is taking a bold step to tackle crime.

Led by Mayor Walt Cobb and City Councillor Scott Nelson, the City is asking the provincial government to support round-the-clock electronic monitoring for prolific offenders and others out on bail or probation.

The move comes after the recent sentencing of a wildfire looter in the Williams Lake provincial courts and is unanimously supported by all members of council, who penned a letter this week to the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the Attorney General David Eby and the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth pushing for the use of electronic ankle bracelets.

“We have come to the end of our tether as far as putting up with people getting away with multiple crimes,” Mayor Walt Cobb said Tuesday. “We had someone break into our house one time who had been in court 72 times in 18 years. That is ridiculous.”

Noted for its recurring status as a crime capital, Williams Lake leaders have proactively been trying to reduce crime for years, Cobb said, but added the summer’s wildfires brought to everyone’s attention there were offenders awaiting trial with multiple charges out in the community.

In 2017, the RCMP did more than 850 checks on offenders who were out of jail on conditions, Cobb said, pointing out the strain on policing resources.

“That’s not a good use of police time,” Cobb said. “If we had the offenders wearing tracking anklets and they breached their conditions and went where they shouldn’t, an alarm would go off.”

Read More: Man sentenced for possession of goods looted during wildfires

City Councillor Scott Nelson said when individuals don’t comply with their bail or probation conditions, the risk they will offend is increased.

“Last year there were 320 fails to appear on conditions of breaches and curfews. If they are not where they are supposed to be, then they are running around our communities and getting lost in the system.”

A new new electronic supervision program to track criminal offenders called Buddi Ltd. has been used in some communities in B.C. so why not Williams Lake? Nelson asked.

“In 2016, Mike Farnsworth came out and endorsed it as the NDP public safety critic,” Nelson said. “Now that the NDP are in government, we are encouraging them and asking the minister to help us make our community a much safer place.”

Williams Lake Insp. Jeff Pelley said the RCMP are committed to enhancing the accountability of offenders on conditions before the courts and increasing community safety.

“We will continue to work with community stakeholders to ensure new technology and viable options can be pursued legally within the judicial system,” he said. “We are currently exploring new options and existing technology with our Crown Counsel and Community Correction partners involving the newer electronic monitoring system to determine if it is feasible in Williams Lake and can be applied for through the court system.”

In February 2016, city council proposed the use of GPS tracking, including a call for inject-able chips in response to an afternoon armed robbery of a teenager at the Boitanio skate park.

Read more: Councillors propose GPS tracking of offenders

This time, the call is simply for electronic anklets.

“This technology has been tested in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.S. and in B.C. it is already operational, but not here in Williams Lake,” Nelson said.

The monitoring devices will give the RCMP one more tool to help reduce crime and keep track of prolific offenders, some of which have 200 charges against them, Nelson added.

“We are not giving up, but gearing up.”

Pelley said the RCMP continue to work within their enforcement strategies to ensure compliance of bail conditions, sentences or the prevention of new offences with full accountability to the court system.

“I am aware of offenders being arrested, charged and released following bail hearings,” Pelley said.

Just Posted

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car in Victoria

Prior to fecal incident, witnesses said cyclist was verbally abusive to driver

It took 10 Victoria households’ worth of property tax to remove the John A. Macdonald statue, watchdog says

The Grumpy Taxpayer$ group says the $30,000 could have been reduced with better planning

Reducing harm with ‘I carry naloxone’ buttons

Victoria-based designer makes buttons with social justice messages

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Homicide victim found under B.C. bridge identified as Hells Angels member

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

B.C. Sikh temple vandalized with racist graffiti

Racist graffiti was found on the side of the building this morning

McDonald’s brings back $1 coffee

Deal runs from Nov. 19 until Dec. 16 in Greater Victoria

Shots fired near Chicago hospital, multiple victims: police

Police say at least one possible offender has been shot

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Elections BC keeps eye on Canada Post dispute, but no change in Nov. 30 deadline

Vote No spokesman say an extension of one or two weeks would ensure all ballots are counted

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

Most Read