Langford resident calls for more police to combat violence

Woman voices fear over going for walks alone around neighbourhood

I am a woman living in Langford and I have grown fearful of my community. I used to enjoy exploring my neighbourhood, walking the many paths and jogging local trails, but now I am too frightened to do that.

There is a major problem plaguing our city and that is serious crime. The violent acts against women are deeply unsettling and disturbing – I feel threatened and live in fear of being a target of a random attack or assault.

What is being done to make Langford safe? City hall holds the power to hire more police officers, so why aren’t they jumping into action?

Mayor Stew Young said he will “consider” hiring more RCMP officers to combat crime “if it continues.”

When is enough enough? How many more violent crimes – sexual assaults, robberies, dangerous shootings, gang violence, drug wars, home invasions, random attacks – how many more victims must there be before the people in power stand up for the citizens and pay for more police officers on our streets?

I want to feel safe and right now I do not. We are experiencing way more than our share of violence for such a small area. Statistics show there is approximately one police officer per 1,000 residents in the West Shore, a considerably high number compared to other regional police forces – the City of Victoria’s ratio is one officer per 400 residents.

It feels like the majority of violent crime has been occurring in Langford, with a surging population of 35,000 contained within only 16 square miles.

Right now Langford is in the lead as one of the worst cities in Canada for serious crime per capita. Why is the police force stretched so thin, comparably underfunded and understaffed, and seemingly not growing alongside the region’s population?

City hall needs to wake up and immediately invest more tax dollars into strengthening our police department. I am sick and tired of seeing Langford in the news because of crime, especially violence against women, and I am sick and tired of defending Langford from the long-standing reputation of being a rough town – a.k.a. ‘Gangford.’

City council prides itself on revitalizing Langford from a sleepy suburb of Greater Victoria to a booming community. The mayor especially takes great pride in offering affordability and low taxes, but at what expense? The Western Communities will not be a desirable place to live, visit and raise a family if crime is out of control and property values start to plummet.

Cameras, security lights, Block Watch programs and unarmed security guards are only cheaper band aid solutions to the bigger issue. We need more proactive policing, plain and simple. To the citizens and taxpayers and women of West Shore, we all deserve to feel safe, secure and protected. We want to get out of our homes and vehicles without feeling scared of a dangerous encounter.

I ask West Shore council members and mayors: why are you not taking care of the members of your community? Are we not worth the expense? Are we not important enough to spend tax dollars on the prevention and reduction of crime to make our neighbourhoods safe?

Wake up and take notice. Please do the right thing and show you care. Protect your people and hire more police officers.

Tara Sharp

Langford

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