Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog predicts the province’s upcoming crime report will find that involuntary secure care is needed for prolific offenders facing serious mental-health issues.
He wants to see a report delivered in 120 days that will recommend secure care for some. If that happens and is acted upon, “then we will get safety back on our streets,” he said.
Krog expects the report will find that very prolific offenders are “deeply damaged with brain injury, mental health, addiction and trauma.”
They are unable to look after themselves, he said. “Certainly, nobody’s getting better out in the streets committing all of this crime.”
Criminal activity arises out of factors such as brain injury and trauma, Krog said.
The province’s announcement of the report on Thursday is an important recognition of the seriousness of the problem, Krog said.
“I trust the government, once the report is made, will move quickly to implement the recommended solutions. I’m a seriously happy mayor to hear this.”
Nanaimo, along with other communities, has struggled for years to find ways to cope with crime, addiction, opioid deaths, violence and an affordable housing shortage that sees people living outdoors.
Citizens who live and work downtown will also be ecstatic with the announcement, he said.
“I’ll be astonished if this report comes back with something different than secure involuntary care or some form thereof,” Krog said.
“Putting somebody in a prison for criminal acts when their problem is related to brain injury, mental health, addictions, trauma, makes no sense. It’s not going to fix anything.”
Someone with such challenges will not get in prison the medical, psychiatric and unmet medical psychiatric supports they need, he said.
The province’s decision to commission the report is a response to growing political pressure from across the spectrum in B.C., Krog said.
“People know this is the issue and they want it fixed.”
Krog likened letting people with serious issues live on the street to capital punishment.
“Essentially, you’re just condemning them to die in the streets. That’s all you’re doing.”