Shine a light on prostitution

An 81-year-old Bainbridge man escaped serious injury Tuesday afternoon when he crashed his car through the Flowering Around storefront at Winslow Mall. No pedestrians or employees were injured in the crash, cause of which is still under investigation. - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
An 81-year-old Bainbridge man escaped serious injury Tuesday afternoon when he crashed his car through the Flowering Around storefront at Winslow Mall. No pedestrians or employees were injured in the crash, cause of which is still under investigation.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

When are local officials going to get serious about prostitution and its related drug problems in Chilliwack?

Personally I don’t feel threatened when I am downtown at night, but a lot of people are and it is affecting some very fine businesses and restaurants in the area. It has become so serious in the downtown core that some store owners and services have already moved away in disgust and others are considering leaving. We can come up with all kinds of great plans for revitalizing the downtown core but until we as a community get serious about drugs and prostitution we are wasting our time.

This is not a shot at the police, who are doing everything they can under impossible conditions. Because of the Charter of Rights, they spend more time doing paperwork than actual policing and the hookers are back on the street before the police.

The police recently conducted a major operation to catch some of these hookers and their johns but because of lack of support from others in the community, I don’t think it will have much of a lasting affect. I like what was done with sending some of the customers to John school because in a lot of cases these guys don’t know the harm they are doing and maybe that is all that is needed to have them change their ways, but why, like other crimes, haven’t the names been promptly released of the others that were actually charged with a criminal code offense?

Was a decision made to protect the names of the customers, rather than protecting this community?

Those who repeatedly use the services of hookers have one thing in common; they don’t care about the community and the harm that is done to it or their own families.

Chilliwack now has organized crime as part of its makeup, and it recently resulted in Wild West shootings on our streets. What makes it so attractive for these people to be here is the money to be made from drugs and prostitution.

There is nothing we as citizens can presently do about the drug situation unless we want to become vigilantes. We in the Lower Mainland are stuck with judges who don’t think illegal drug growing, manufacturing and distribution are serious problems. The result is organized crime has a good toehold in Chilliwack.

The prostitution problem is something we can do something about by going after the customers. It means shinning a big search light on these guys so that the whole town knows who they are.

By dealing with prostitutes, these guys are supporting the sexual exploitation of women, supporting them being beat up by their pimps and supporting their drug addiction, and most of all they are supporting organized crime and allowing it to get a stranglehold on this great community. These people also don’t seem to care if their wives become infected with aids or syphilis and they don’t care if their actions result in businesses closing and neighborhood communities are ruined.

We citizens can only hope people in charge aren’t putting the reputations of these customers above the rest of the citizens of Chilliwack.

Vancouver police want to try a new approach to the hooker problem by adopting a program that has been successfully used in the Prairies to cut down on prostitution. Cars of the customers are seized by police, since they were used in the commission of a criminal code offence.

Solicitor General and local MLA John Les made it quite clear that he doesn’t think it is a good idea, and without provincial legislation it won’t happen. He didn’t even indicate he would look into the results from the Prairies. This man is in charge of public safety in the province and he doesn’t seem to know or understand you can’t stop crime until you remove the money that can be made. Even when hookers know someone is out there killing other prostitutes, they still work the streets. A fine is not going to do it, so it is time to give up on focusing primarily on the prostitutes.

Let these Johns explain to their wives and friends why they were arrested for being involved with prostitution and why their cars were seized. Prostitute’s customers are like cockroaches and will scurry away at the thought of the public spotlight being on them.

If we continue with the old ways, it will just drive the hookers out of the downtown and into the residential back alleys in the areas surrounding Five Corners making it harder for police to control the situation.

It doesn’t matter if it is Five Corners or a back alley, a police sting will get these guys and scare off other potential customers. Without the money, prostitution will be less of a problem, and it will make the downtown a better place to live and shop.

Let John Les know it is time to deal with prostitution problem seriously and crack down on the customers.

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