Burnaby RCMP holds open community forum
By Imaad Ali
to a friend
The Burnaby RCMP continued its positive working relationship with the city's faith groups on Tuesday, May 1st when it hosted one of its many community forums at the Al-Salaam Mosque & Education Centre on Canada Way.
Chief Superintendent Dave Critchley was joined by a team of his fellow officers, as well as City Councillor Paul McDonell, MLA Raj Chouhan and representatives of the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness and Ant-Graffiti organization at the session which was catered by the Mosque's Ladies' Branch.
A large crowd attended the event and saw an informative visual presentation by the Chief Superintendent, and later asked questions on crime for almost an hour.
Feroz Dean, Chairman of the Muslim Business Council asked about the root cause of crime. Critchley stated that this issue has been looked at by police and academics for years, but on the strategic side, police address crime with a three pronged approach: 1) Enforcement 2) Education and 3) Intelligence which is being proactive to catch crime before it occurs.
Another issue which was discussed was new crimes which have emerged with new products. Police now often deal with what they have termed "iTheft" which is the theft of ipods, ipads and similar devices, especially on public transit.
Other questions were about drugs, such as meth labs and grow-ops being set up in residential areas, and marijuana use by neighbours. The crowd also enquired about workplace and school bullying, gang warfare, euthanasia, and firearms laws.
On the positive side, the police informed the crowd that the neighbourhood in which the Mosque is situated is a relatively low crime area. As well, programs that the police have put in place to fight crime which have been successful were highlighted, such as Bar Watch, crime analysis and statistics, Strike Force and surveillance on suspects.
The evenining ended with a question by Musa Ismail, the President of the BC Muslim Association, one of the largest Muslim organizations in the Western World. His question was on what the Muslim community could do to help the police. Chief Superintedent Critchley replied that he looked forward to seeing various communites coming together to engage in the local Community Police Advisory Committees in each district. He also invited community members to take part in the various volunteer programs that the RCMP offers, such as Block Watch, Speed Watch and Auxiliary policing.
The evening ended with socializing and networking among the diverse group of attendees and police.