Two separate incidents involving the Comox Valley RCMP last week, though in stark contrast to each other, highlighted some residents’ recent frustrations with local policing.
The first surrounded a Facebook video of two Mounties issuing a traffic violation to a man in front of the Courtenay library. The ticket was purportedly issued because the man rode his bicycle with no hands on the handlebars. Many of the 300-plus comments under the video reflected frustration at how much effort the RCMP would put into handling such a petty infraction.
The second incident was much more serious; gunshots were fired at a vehicle in a residential neighbourhood on Friday night in East Courtenay after an altercation between residents at Panorama Crescent. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident.
Multiple neighbours on Panorama Crescent told The Record that the house from which the shooter came has been a problem for several years, with several daily visitors and rampant illegal activity. Neighbours said they call the RCMP often to complain about the activities conducted at the house, but that police have yet to take the issue seriously.
An RCMP officer confirmed that officers have responded to calls at that house, but could not confirm how many arrests were made following the shooting, or if a case was being built against the homeowners.
The frustration from the public about both incidents share something in common; the belief that the RCMP has its priorities out of whack. The traffic violation for the cyclist, though valid, reminded us of the theft of a candy machine that was reported in January. In that instance, the Comox Valley RCMP’s Integrated Forensic Identification Section assisted with the investigation. Was there really nothing more important for that unit to be doing at the time?
The RCMP has a no-call-too-small philosophy when it comes to handling crime. As the Valley grows in population, more serious and “big city” crimes like Friday’s shooting will continue to occur. It might be time for the Comox Valley RCMP to consider shifting its priorities.
—Comox Valley Record