People in Langley City have seen an increase in garbage, vandalism, and tagging around the community in the last several years. At the same time, there has been an increase of people living on the streets and in City parks. An increase in substance abuse and drug addiction has been observed by many residents.
In the Downtown core, there has been an increase of methadone dispensary, e-cigarette stores, and thrift stores.
These things have caused people to become increasingly concerned about the future of Langley City. Some people no longer feel safe visiting our parks or going Downtown.
Early last year, the City of Langley launched a Community Crime Prevention Task Force to come up with solutions to move the community in a positive direction.
The Task Force submitted a Community Crime Prevention Strategic Plan which is before Council today for endorsement.
I will not be sworn into Council until March 21st, but I support endorsing the Strategic Plan.
The plan focuses on three key objectives: Crime Prevention, Reduction & Public Safety; Partnership & Advocacy; and Social Change.
I want to highlight some of the high-level action items under each of these objectives.
Crime Prevention, Reduction & Public Safety
- City to consider and introduce zoning and business regulations to address public safe and nuisance concerns: This includes regulating the number of methadone dispensaries and e-cigarette stores, and introducing shopping cart regulations.
- Develop a sustainable program to target “crime” hot spots: This includes working with the RCMP to get more members out of their cars and walking the beat. This also includes implementing CPTED on public and private property.
- Adhere to the principles and philosophy of the ‘Broken Window Theory’: This includes making sure that both public and private property is in a state of good repair with increased city maintenance, and more enforcement of the Community Standards Bylaw.
Partnership & Advocacy
- Advocate to senior levels of government to provide the necessary programs and resources to address justice, crime prevention and public safety issues: This includes working with the province and health authority to get proper mental health and addiction treatment programs setup for people in the community.
- Develop partnership opportunities with various stakeholders to prevent and reduce crime: This includes partnering with the Downtown Langley Business Association and Chamber of Commerce, as well as social service agencies, citizen groups, and faith-based organizations.
- Adjust the demographic makeup of the City: This includes working to adjust the mix of affordable, social, and market housing in the community.
- Explore a Family Based Crime Prevention Program: This included more in-school programs, community gardens, and Adopt-a-Parks/Streets.
- Create an identity for Downtown: This includes working with the Downtown Langley Business Association to bring more family-oriented events to the core.
I’m happy that there are actionable items in the Community Crime Prevention Strategic Plan. One of the challenges in Langley City is that we’ve developed many plans, but a lot of them just end up on a shelf. It will be important to make sure that this strategic plan becomes a document which is acted on at City Hall.