Victoria: The British Columbia government has hired two experts to investigate and report on how best to prevent cycles of crime involving prolific offenders and those who commit random violent attacks.
Attorney General David Eby said a small group of people is creating disorder and chaos, mostly in downtown cores, as businesses are trying to recover from the pandemic.
Eby said former deputy police chief of Vancouver Doug LePard and Amanda Butler, a criminologist specializing in mental health and addiction, are expected to come up with creative solutions and submit a report with recommendations in four months.
However, some proposed solutions could be considered before then, Eby said Thursday.
Repeat offenders are unlikely to take up voluntary supports for issues related to mental health and substance use, but solutions may involve compulsory participation in programs that integrate both health and justice systems, not just policing, he said.
That could include a community court program, like a drug court that operates in Vancouver, which would provide social services and health supports.
“It may be that integrated courts are a response for some communities,’’ Eby said. “That would be something for our experts to review.’’
The announcement comes after a group of 13 mayors in B.C.’s urban areas wrote to the attorney general last month about prolific offenders that are routinely arrested but often released to again attack strangers or damage property.
Cities in B.C. are among others across North America that are grappling with similar issues, and smaller communities are not immune, Eby said, citing Terrace, Trail and Quesnel.