Williams Lake Mayor Expresses Frustration Over Continued Violence
Williams Lake, B.C. – “We don’t have a gang, they’re thugs.”
The words of Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb today in regards to the continued acts of violence that continue to plague the small Cariboo community of roughly 11,000 residents.
The latest incident came this morning when local schools were locked down due to a series of gunshots aimed at a home on Western Avenue just after 4:00 this morning.
“Well what can I say, I’m a little disappointed once again of things that are happening in our community but yeah, I guess the good news is that no one was hurt,” he says.
However Cobb notes that won’t deter the 12-20 prolific offenders that continue to terrorize everyone.
“They have someone in custody and it’s one of those things that we continue to deal with when we let those prolific offenders in and out of court, nothing happens to them. It’s like a revolving door and our community is really getting fed up with it.”
Ironically he just met Friday with B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety Minister Mike Morris to discuss the issue.
“Well I was not that impressed with the meeting on Friday for sure. Basically all we were told was what you need is more policemen,” says Cobb.
“Well to me, the policemen are not the answer, our RCMP are great, they’re doing their best but they’ve got to be as frustrated as anybody else. More police isn’t going to help, it will just put them (prolific offenders) though the system more often.”
What he’d like to see is one of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Units sent his way.
(This after the Province announced it would be adding another $23 million dollars over three years to its guns and gangs strategy 10 days ago).
“I’m hoping that one of them (units) will come to our town. I don’t know that we need 10 of them (officers), but certainly I would like to see a team like that come to our town and get it cleaned up.”
Cobb told 250News last month that these gang units have proved effective elsewhere, including in Prince George about five or six years ago.
“Where they come in and they are here for two or three years, at least 18 months, that deals specifically with prolific offenders.”
City councillor Scott Nelson says the City also plans to sit down and discuss strategy with local judges and with Crown prosecutors.
“And we’re going to be asking them very clearly to ensure that any prolific offenders and gang members that are high risk to this community be placed with an ankle bracelet on them so that we can monitor their movements 24/7, 365 days a year.”
Today’s incident didn’t go unnoticed by Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty who said he was “shocked and appalled to hear of today’s emergency situation.”
He’s also expecting the federal government to step in and help.
“Last month I met with the Minister of Public Safety to find a solution to combat gang violence associated with drug-trafficking and I expect the Liberal Government to take action on this file immediately.”