Communities within Surrey, BC are getting a lot of news coverage these days. With the death of hockey mom Julie Paskall outside the Newton Wave Pool and Recreation Centre and now Janet Brown’s encounter with drug dealers at a hockey arena in Walley, the City of Surrey is having to discuss what it’s doing to clean up the streets.
Surrey is on the precipice of change but only if the public continues to push.
Both of these women’s stories sparked a sense for me that maybe, just maybe, citizens can assist in resolving long-standing problems with open drug dealing, violence and other crimes committed in their neighbourhoods. There is no doubt it can be dangerous confronting people who care little about the welfare of others and taking the law into your own hands is not recommended. However, allowing a plague to infect your neighbourhood isn’t a solution either.
Have we come to a point where we can no longer turn a blind eye to the presence of criminals? Do we want criminals to win by taking over our parks, recreation centres, parking lots and surrounding homes while we stay silent out of fear?
When I listened to Janet Brown’s account of her verbal attack on the drug dealers (who expected her to mind her own business) I couldn’t help but feel that rush you get when you take back your power. That “enough is enough” attitude can rise to the surface from a very primal part of our being. In conjunction with that personal power there should be a very strong presence from the City of Surrey.
When a community decides to take back its streets, how can it be done lawfully and safely?
It is imperative that we don’t lose sight of the very thing that drove many people to call, to act, to demand better, which was the death a woman going about her life in the same way each of us do everyday. To take back a street requires diligence and cooperation of all those affected. You can’t expect your neighbour, police or city to be the only protectors of your livelihood or home.
What prevents a good city, with mostly law-abiding citizens, from cleaning up it’s trash?
I can’t help but feel that we have become too soft, so politically correct, so overly compassionate that we have set up ripe ground for the users and abusers to manipulate each and every one of us. We all know these losers will be shuffled along to another area within the community. We also can see that despite Surrey’s exterior clean up, that fact remains that criminals are not afraid to continue business as usual. Surrey is not the only city or town in this Province to experience such problems but it remains a place that needs more than gentrification and a high-profile Mayor to solve its challenges.
Frankly, I never believed for one minute that all the skyscrapers and density was going to change what ails cities like Surrey. Our justice system fails us, many of our social service programs become enablers and our politicians are humans who, like the rest of us, often lack the answers. Regardless, we have no choice but to be proactive in reclaiming our right to conduct our lives as we see fit and not live at the mercy of those who don’t value life at all.
It is time law-abiding citizen’s take back the streets.