Editorial: Public safety should be the #1 priority

People with mental health and addiction issues should be helped

Sooke is no longer the sleepy little town where you can leave your doors unlocked and know your vehicle won’t be ransacked for spare change. We have crime here.

Two deaths in the past two years have made their way onto the pages of newspapers and in both cases, it appears that mental health issues were contributing factors. We can provide medication to those who need it, but we can’t force them to take them. That’s where our system fails. Human rights and liberties supercede public safety in many cases. Our mental health system is overwhelmed with people in need and there are fewer and fewer resources available. There is no place for some of these people to go and they end up on the streets or back at their parents’ homes. No parent will deny helping their child, even if they are in danger.

When is the government going to realize that turning people with severe mental health problems out into society is like giving them a ticking time bomb? When will the health system recognize their responsibility to all of us? It’s not just about money, it’s about assessing those who are at risk and putting everyone in a safe zone. There has to be a way to deal with those with mental health issues, and addictions whether they are alcohol or drug related. Because of this we have more property crime, homelessness and threats. It doesn’t have to be the way it is and it could change if there was the will from government. It’s a real shame.

On another note, the recent incidents along isolated roads around Sooke of men trying to get women into cars serves as a warning. Pay attention to what is going on around you. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way and report anything suspicious.

Sooke is still an amazing place and it is safe for the most part, it’s just important to use common sense and to watch out for each other.