The provincial government has hired two experts to look into prolific offenders and random violent attacks.
The decision came after the B.C. Urban Mayors’ Caucus sent a letter with detailed data on repeat offenders in 10 cities to the B.C. government.
According to the letter, Abbotsford, Vancouver, and Coquitlam are the cities with the largest number of repeat offenders, with 50, 40 and 17 individuals identified respectively in the last year.
Richmond comes in the middle of the pack, with 15 prolific offenders and a total of 413 “negative police contacts,” which means that, on average, one prolific criminal would have had around two to three negative contacts per month.
Negative contact means that an individual is considered a suspect, the suspect is chargeable, and they have either been charged or charges are recommended.
Amongst the cities with the same number of repeat offenders as Richmond, Kelowna has a total of 1,039 negative contacts, while Burnaby saw only 41 negative contacts in the past year.
The letter defines prolific offenders as individuals who had more than 30 “negative contacts” with the police within the last year.
The caucus also noted that mental health challenges, homelessness, and/or problematic substance use are some of the issues experienced by prolific offenders.
“Simply because we are compassionate, concerned and taking action on mental health and addiction issues does not mean that we have to accept criminal behaviour, vandalism or violence in our communities,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.
“We agree with the mayors that creative solutions within our authority are needed.
“Together, we’ve identified and hired the experts in policing and mental health needed to investigate these trends, identify solutions and help us implement them.”
A written report with recommendations by the experts will be released to the public in fall.