More programs to improve neighbourhood safety and protect property

BlockWatch program

Business persons and retirees who travel for extended periods as well as new immigrants are frequently the target of residential crime and fraud. It is difficult for police to prevent these crimes.

The most effective deterrents are neighbours who know one another and raise the alarm when there is suspicious activity. The existing BlockWatch program and new Know Your Neighbour programs require expanded funding to be more effective.

Break and Enter Crime in Richmond

There were 638 residential break and enter crimes in Richmond in 2017 and another 326 in the first half of 2018. The increased rate has now surged dramatically with 29 such crimes from Sept. 12 to 18, 2018 compared to 4 the same week in 2017. This despite the City's greatly increased spending on additional RCMP officers.

Most often, the occupants of the home are away and the crime isn't discovered until they return. The police arrive long after the criminals have departed. The only way to change that is if neighbours are alert to suspicious activity and report it to the police while the crime is in progress.

Richmond increased its budget in 2018 by $2.3 million to hire an additional 16 new RCMP officers and 3 new administrative staff. While these additional police staff are certainly needed, even more urgent is new staff for neighbourhood BlockWatch and Know Your Neighbour programs.

Richmond BlockWatch Program

Block Watch is described as "a free, community-based, crime prevention program aimed at helping residents organize their neighbourhoods to help prevent crime in the community. Block Watch works if you and your neighbours get to know one another. They may be the first to notice a suspicious person at your door or window." Additional information is available here.

Know Your Neighbour Programs

Richmond leaves it to local residents to organize their own programs to help neighbours get to know one another. Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives administers the annual competitive Neighbourhood Small Grants program, funded by the Vancouver Foundation, that provides a limited number of $500 maximum grants to organizers of neighbourhood events. This requires considerable advannce planning by local volunteers.

The greatest need is in neighbourhoods which don't have motivated local residents who are willing to do all the organizing and apply for funding months in advance. Richmond could provide a much expanded program with full time staff and additional funding to do most of the local organizing.

Lessons Learned

More funding to detect crimes in progress.
City Council has been pouring funding into additional police officers while ignoring funding for programs that will notify police officers that a crime is in progress rather than reporting it long after it occurred.

Other Richmond Issues

Non-farmers have been buying up Richmond farmland in order to build mega mansions that make it difficult to farm the land. Farmland prices are beyond what any farmer can afford.

Details and lessons learned here.

The Richmond housing crisis is the result of housing being used as an investment rather than shelter. Investment demand has driven up prices and reduced the stock of multi-bedroom rental housing.

Details and lessons learned here.

Both immigration and housing prices have increased dramatically. Foreign language signage has been an issue. These have resulted in inter-cultural isolation and mistrust.

Details and lessons learned here.

When councillors don’t know what to do about major problems, they ask city staff to prepare report after report and have a half dozen highly paid senior staff attend endless meetings.

Details and lessons learned here.