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

Wheels in motion for mountain biking trail project near Clinton

Project to provide immediate employment while resulting in new trail on Jesmond Mountain

New wildfire springs up north of Clinton; lightning suspected as cause

Fire is not a flare-up of blaze that started on Aug. 1 near 51 Mile Creek

Financial assistance available for victims of flooding in TNRD

Government will pay 80% of eligible claims resulting from flood damage

Clinton RCMP looking for Citizens on Patrol program volunteers

Organizer hoping to have enough people to get program started in September

Free online course aims to keep care home residents, staff safe

Course gives basic COVID-19 information and safety procedures for visitors to protect the vulnerable

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read