Since the horrendous home intrusion and assault of my neighbour (‘Unconscionable’ assault on senior, Aug. 14) coupled with my own break-in last November (Locking doors is not enough, Dec. 11 letters), I have pondered for many hours on just what is behind this chaos we find ourselves living in today.
Some of my neighbours have spoken out time and again for the need for more police. I do not believe that is the answer. The police did not create the chaos we live in, and they cannot correct it.
If I were to rely upon police to make me feel truly safe, that would require my own policeman 24/7 outside my door accompanied by his German shepherd. If he is cruising down my street, the bad guys can be executing a break-and-enter on the other side of my immediate neighbourhood, and be gone in five minutes.
The answer lies much deeper.
Our quiet, gentler time has been replaced by a fast-growing society and an economy driven by unbridled greed. Our population in Canada is growing so fast that a new equivalent population of Toronto is born every 10 years.
Are we helping these people of diverse cultures settle in and become part of the Canadian fabric as we used to? Our social safety nets, which have made Canada truly special and so different from our neighbours to the south, have been slowly dismantled over the past 10 years, with most of us not noticing.
In short, Canada has lost her virtue. These are strong words, but just look around you.
I read of a dreadful eight-storey hotel in Vancouver without hot water for 109 days – but with rats, bed bugs and cockroaches, and no elevator. There was a day when several organizations within Canada’s social safety net would have advocated on their behalf. Today, there is no one.
I am sure the City of Surrey has similar stories to tell.
Add to that the steady destruction of nature and the forests that afforded refuge to the poorest resident to walk his dog and escape the ‘uglies’ of life, and consider what is left for these people? What kind of world have we created for them?
In the same way that the swamp breeds mosquitoes, deplorable conditions of neglect breed despair. What does despair lead to? A frantic search for escape, usually liquor, drugs and sex. These young men and women, with no hope, no decent place to live, no job paying a fair wage, will migrate to this life. And, of course, drugs cost money, a lot of it, so they turn to crime.
I honestly wondered after reading that article, if I wouldn’t do the same, were I in their circumstances.
The answer to huge problems that have been growing for many years, is never short and simple, such as hiring an army of police to control the ‘bad guys’. We have created them with our blind complacency. I believe we need to wake up, start restoring the fabric of the wonderful Canada we used to be and start caring more for one another.
Sybil Rowe, Surrey