Fix the ‘catch-and-release’ justice system

Courts should have no tolerance for street crimes.

Re: “Taking aim at Surrey’s shootings,” Frank Bucholtz, The Leader, April 15.

In Surrey, the never-ending cycle of denial, violence and talk must stop, and after months of anxious hand-wringing about what to do about the seemingly unchecked epidemic of drug-related gang warfare, Surrey’s politicians are still not answering a fearful public’s questions as to how and when to take back Surrey from a long-festering history of crime.

The usual responses to crime and crime prevention as put forward by Surrey’s Mayor Linda Hepner, such as more police presence, intensified 24/7 video surveillance, mental health initiatives, drug enforcement, etc., can be effective measures to be taken.

However, no progress to combating an escalating situation of street crime and gun violence will be made unless we tackle the fundamental judicial problem of the courts routinely handing out soft or no sentences, sending convicted felons back on the street through the revolving door of a “catch-and-release” justice system, only to re-offend.

Instead of engaging in the politically correct response of feebly portraying violent criminals as “victims of societal exclusion,” measures to help put an end to street crime must entail, first and foremost, resolute legislation for tougher sentencing that would send a clear message to would-be felons that judicial tolerance for street crimes is over.

What is needed now is the political courage to act.

Enough with crime and punishment Canadian-style – where the rights of convicted criminals trump the fate of their very real victims, where lenient sentences have made  drug trafficking and organized crime the crimes that pay, where bail is granted with few questions asked and where criminals are free again to roam the streets.

E.W. Bopp



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