Stolen property littered the yard of this drug house on Chemainus Road before it was shut down, but the criminal activity of the known perpetrators hasn’t stopped. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Time for punishment to fit the crimes

Drug treatment should be a condition for repeat offenders

The time to crack down, so to speak, is long overdue.

Extra vigilance is required more than ever by residents of Chemainus and Crofton to keep criminals at bay.

Block Watches are needed virtually in every neighbourhood these days so we can keep an eye out for each other, especially when someone’s away.

Thomas C. Hembroff perhaps summed it up best on the Courier’s Facebook page: “Unfortunately this is the world we live in now. It’s been changed forever. I think we just have to toughen up and protect ourselves. Become friends with your neighbours.”

The break-in and theft at Magpies Antiques and Gifts in Chemainus, with more than $30,000 worth of jewelry stolen, is a stark reminder what great lengths alleged drug addicts will go to fuel their habits.

Catching the perpetrators in the act seems to be the issue. Even with video surveillance where businesses have clear images of suspects, the court system rarely issues much of a punishment and they’re soon right back on the street.

The Chemainus Road drug house, recently closed down, only resulted in that crowd being dispersed. Members of that group, known for stealing considerable amounts of property, can often be seen walking or riding from Chemainus along Henry Road to a location or locations on the other side of the Trans Canada Highway. Those busted by police previously have yet to be charged.

The safe injection sites and all the affordable housing in the world being proposed for these people will not work.

The problem is the drugs. Their mental health is severely impaired by the drugs.

This crime at Magpies is serious enough to warrant jail time. Along with that, the justice system has to change its handling of repeat drug offenders with no more slaps on the wrists, but immediate admittance to drug treatment centres upon sentencing.

The province can also step up with funding for drug treatment rather than masking the situation with these other measures.

It’s the only way we can ever begin to slow down these horrible incidences of property crime.

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