Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb and the city councillors are requesting the provincial government reinstate the use of electronic monitoring anklets for criminal offenders will help curb crime in the lakecity. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

VIDEO: B.C. mayor urges province to use 24/7 electronic monitoring for offenders

Local politicians pen letter to government asking for electronic monitoring system

Williams Lake city council is taking a bold step to tackle crime.

Led by Mayor Walt Cobb and City Councillor Scott Nelson, the City is asking the provincial government to support round-the-clock electronic monitoring for prolific offenders and others out on bail or probation.

The move comes after the recent sentencing of a wildfire looter in the Williams Lake provincial courts and is unanimously supported by all members of council, who penned a letter this week to the Provincial Court of British Columbia, the Attorney General David Eby and the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth pushing for the use of electronic ankle bracelets.

“We have come to the end of our tether as far as putting up with people getting away with multiple crimes,” Mayor Walt Cobb said Tuesday. “We had someone break into our house one time who had been in court 72 times in 18 years. That is ridiculous.”

Noted for its recurring status as a crime capital, Williams Lake leaders have proactively been trying to reduce crime for years, Cobb said, but added the summer’s wildfires brought to everyone’s attention there were offenders awaiting trial with multiple charges out in the community.

In 2017, the RCMP did more than 850 checks on offenders who were out of jail on conditions, Cobb said, pointing out the strain on policing resources.

“That’s not a good use of police time,” Cobb said. “If we had the offenders wearing tracking anklets and they breached their conditions and went where they shouldn’t, an alarm would go off.”

Read More: Man sentenced for possession of goods looted during wildfires

City Councillor Scott Nelson said when individuals don’t comply with their bail or probation conditions, the risk they will offend is increased.

“Last year there were 320 fails to appear on conditions of breaches and curfews. If they are not where they are supposed to be, then they are running around our communities and getting lost in the system.”

A new new electronic supervision program to track criminal offenders called Buddi Ltd. has been used in some communities in B.C. so why not Williams Lake? Nelson asked.

“In 2016, Mike Farnsworth came out and endorsed it as the NDP public safety critic,” Nelson said. “Now that the NDP are in government, we are encouraging them and asking the minister to help us make our community a much safer place.”

Williams Lake Insp. Jeff Pelley said the RCMP are committed to enhancing the accountability of offenders on conditions before the courts and increasing community safety.

“We will continue to work with community stakeholders to ensure new technology and viable options can be pursued legally within the judicial system,” he said. “We are currently exploring new options and existing technology with our Crown Counsel and Community Correction partners involving the newer electronic monitoring system to determine if it is feasible in Williams Lake and can be applied for through the court system.”

In February 2016, city council proposed the use of GPS tracking, including a call for inject-able chips in response to an afternoon armed robbery of a teenager at the Boitanio skate park.

Read more: Councillors propose GPS tracking of offenders

This time, the call is simply for electronic anklets.

“This technology has been tested in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the U.S. and in B.C. it is already operational, but not here in Williams Lake,” Nelson said.

The monitoring devices will give the RCMP one more tool to help reduce crime and keep track of prolific offenders, some of which have 200 charges against them, Nelson added.

“We are not giving up, but gearing up.”

Pelley said the RCMP continue to work within their enforcement strategies to ensure compliance of bail conditions, sentences or the prevention of new offences with full accountability to the court system.

“I am aware of offenders being arrested, charged and released following bail hearings,” Pelley said.

Just Posted

Langley cheerleaders climb their way to the Summit

A team from Langley Cheer & Athletics is on their way to Florida to compete in early May.

UPDATE: IHIT investigating suspicious death in South Surrey

Roads closed at 12 Avenue and 28 Avenue

Sound wall under construction at 216th Interchange

Work is picking up steam at the new interchange crossing site.

Throwback Thursday: April 26, 2018

Help us caption a photo from Langley’s past!

Cloverdale fourth grader wants to take learning to the next dimension

Riley Markowsky-Qadir wants his classmates to be able to learn in 3D

WATCH: Small fire at Langley spa manufacturer creates big plume

Black smoke from a Thursday evening fire at a spa maker could be seen for miles.

NAFTA talks hold Foreign Affairs Minister in Washington, substitute heads to NATO summit

NAFTA talks keeping Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, sends substitute to NATO summit

Britain gives long-lost Franklin expedition ships to Canada, Inuit

Deeds to HMS Erebus and HMS Terror signed over to Canada and Inuit Heritage Trust

Grief over deadly Toronto van attack sinks in

Three days after rampage, people still gathering at memorial to lay flowers and honour victims

Liberals urged to tax e-commerce services like Netflix

Trudeau has been adamant that his government wouldn’t increase taxes on online subscriptions

Why some B.C. daycares didn’t opt in to subsidy program

Deadline passes for program aimed at laying foundation for universal child care

WATCH: Moms Stop The Harm respond to opioid crisis

Someone asked her if she does the work for her son. McBain said: “No, actually. I do it for your son.”

Been a long day? Here’s cute puppies in training

Group is training next batch of assistance dogs at Vancouver International Airport

B.C. skydiver lands safely after cutting away main chute

Greater Victoria emergency services called after witnesses saw spiralling chute

Most Read