Yearning for safer streets

The number of homeless people, drug addicts and prostitutes in the downtown is up

Re: Council looking to crime in core (The News, Aug. 29).

Whoever says that the number of homeless people, drug addicts and prostitutes in the downtown area hasn’t increased in the last few months is blind.

I walk everywhere and, yes, there are a few people I see on a consistent basis. But there are a lot of new faces.

I am constantly approached by people asking for money and have to walk by people strung out on god-knows-what drug, laid out on benches and the side of the road all over town.

I understand that some of these people need help, but there is a difference between helping people who want to get out of that lifestyle and those people who take advantage of the system, which is obvious that many are doing.

I don’t see how giving them free meals and a place to sleep is really helping them to turn their lives around. To me, it’s just enabling them to continue this lifestyle without repercussions.

Maple Ridge has progressively gotten worse as the months and years have gone by.

I was walking on Cliff Road the other day. The road runs behind the pool store on the corner of Lougheed Highway and 222nd Street, and what do I see? Three people sitting in the grass, in the open, smoking what appeared to be a crack pipe. Lovely.

I’m sure the families who live on that street want their children exposed to that sort of thing.

The best part about this was that you could walk from the Salvation Army to Cliff Ave. via the pool store parking lot. So I cut across to avoid these people, and there’s a cop car parked in the Salvation Army parking lot, facing where this drug use was taking place. I had half a mind to go find the officer, but as there were so many other people milling about, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself because the last thing I need is to be recognized as a snitch and jumped one night while walking downtown.

I watch drug deals go down all over town and I’m wondering, where is the RCMP? If I can spot these sorts of things, I’m sure that trained professionals can, as well. Are they not paid to uphold the law? Aren’t illicit drugs and prostitution illegal?

So what’s being done about it?

As far as I can see, nothing.

I don’t really see a police presence other than them driving up and down Dewdney Trunk Road and Lougheed Highway.  Of course, people aren’t going to be breaking the law on the side of major roads.

The RCMP needs to patrol neighborhoods, alleys and side streets to find and arrest these people and get them off the streets.

I’ve enjoyed the summer, but part of me is yearning for the cold weather to set in so that most of these people return to wherever they came from, so I can feel a little safer walking the streets of Maple Ridge.

L. Pellegrino

Maple Ridge


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