Monday, May 23, 2016

Tent city plagued by violence



The Times Colonist is reporting that "Victoria councillors have unanimously approved spending up to $113,000 in additional policing funds to deal with increasing crime and violence in the neighbourhood surrounding the tent city on the courthouse lawn. Acting Police Chief Del Manak painted a grim picture to city councillors of drug use, violence and intimidation in and around tent city because street gang members have infiltrated the encampment. 'The site is clearly not safe,' he said. Manak said police officers are regularly met with aggression at tent city; both residents and service providers are intimidated and many neighbours worry for their safety."

This is a common theme we are seeing repeat itself. Victoria, Vancouver, Surrey, Maple Ridge - all have areas where the street gangs are exploiting and brutalizing the homeless so they can make money from addiction that results in a huge amount of violent crime.

The Victoria police chief said both residents and service providers are intimidated and many neighbours worry for their safety. This is very true. Service provides is referring to sex trade workers like Dianne Rock and Janice Shore where the drug dealer becomes the pimp and take everything they make not just a percentage. There is nothing consentual about it.

There are two problems on the table not just one. Housing is a legitimate concern. Yet the cause is lost when it is overcome and exploited with open drug abuse. Hal Hannon from Breaking the code nailed it in a post he made entitled Why Tent City Has No Solution.

Hal states Addiction is relentless:

"Have you ever supported a drug habit? I have. I supported my ex-roommate’s addiction for fifteen years. It cost me between $3,000 and $5,000 a month, whatever I could make available. Had I made more available, she would have wasted that on drugs too. Multiply that by the masses who inhabit tent city and those waiting for a spot to pitch a tent. I can assure you that when a lifestyle is driven by addiction there is never enough money. Without enough money, tent city has no solution. Every effort to help them will be misused to support their drug habits I am not saying every tenter is an addict. I am saying that some ninety percent of them are."

Hal has a very valid point. However, I am saying there is a solution. Arrest the drug dealers exploiting the homeless not the drug addicts. Unless we do that we are enabling and supporting the violence exploiting them. Then we can devote some of the resources we spent on harm promotion on housing instead. People need homes not drugs.

8 comments:

  1. And a lot of this started when the Socreds closed Riverview and failed to live up to the promises they made to provide alternative housing. its been all down hill since.

    Many of those in these tent cities are mentally ill, have FAS, etc. No services, not enough family doctors, not enough detox facilities, etc. That won't change because the provincial government, B.C. Lieberals, are too busy ensuring their friends are benefiting from their services. In the meantime as you write the drug dealers move in.

    People are living in tent cities and the cities have to pay for the policing. All the while the mining industry failed to pay the provincial government over $1 billion. That is a lot of money to forget to collect from the mining industry. On the other hand Teck corp owes approx. 60% of that money. so how much did the Teck Corp donate to the B. C. Lieberal Party? Over $3M--Norm Farrell's blog, In-sight, for all the details.

    So if anything goes sideways with some of these mines the taxpayers have to pick up the pieces and in the mean time the provincial government makes like it doesn't have enough money for detox centres, decent housing or mental health housing, but hey, they forgot to collect over a billion from the mining industry.

    When it comes to "dead beats" and crooks, I'd suggest these companies and the current provincial government are running neck and neck with the more conventional "crooks".

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    1. Closing down Riverview and putting all the mentally ill on the streets was indeed horrible. So is having a "nurse" give someone who is mentally ill a free crack pipe or needle and show them how to "safely" use drugs. There is no safe way to use drugs. That's like teaching them a safe way to ingest rat poison. It is socially irresponsible.

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  2. what you say may be true Dennis. However, if some one is determined to use rat poison, lets at least try to make sure they survive the event.

    this government and most other governments aren't interested in providing adequate detox and rehab for those who are drug addicted or mentally ill. the voting public doesn't care. They're more concerned about ensuring their kids' schools stay open, finding an affordable place to live, and finding a family doctor.

    Harm reduction may not be the best thing, but until there is better treatment, its the only way to stop the dying. You may not like harm reduction, but if its your kid who might die, who knows how you would feel.

    We can't even get the b.c. lieberals to ban pill making machines. they want the feds to do that. Now how stupid is that. Its almost as if they had shares in some of those pill making machines. As many as 800 people may die because of the f. pills, yet the B.C. Lieberals don't want to ban the pill making machines. How stupid is that........

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    1. Therein lies the real problem. If someone is determined to ingest rat poison there is a natural consequence for doing so. The last thing we should be doing in encouraging them to do it. Harm reduction isn't harm reduction it's harm promotion because they ignore the other three pillars: Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention. They don't believe in prevention they only believe in promotion. I feel horrible that we are promoting such misery.

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    1. I doubt that. The Hell Angels run the Strip in Surrey outside the Front Room. As a latino friend who used to live here recently said to me "I didn't know there were any Latinos living on Vancouver Island."

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  4. There not Latino there white Asian and native kids claiming to be a Mexican gang but go try to sell meth n tent city c what happens...

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    1. White kids pretending to belong to a Mexican gang. Exactly.

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