British Columbians looking to report a drug lab or gang-related property will soon have an easier and completely confidential system for contacting authorities.
The community safety act (CSA) will allow for anyone to submit a confidential complaint to nearby provincial government units if they notice criminal activities centred around a specific property.
These criminal activities include drug production and trafficking, possession of illegal firearms or explosives, after-hours sale of liquor, and providing liquor or drugs to minors.
“People living near ‘crack shacks’ and other dangerous nuisance properties have been waiting more than half a decade for this law to actually help them,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General in a release.
“We’ve moved quickly to modernize the act to address the current realities of organized crime in B.C., and to ensure that it’s fair, efficient and minimizes administrative burden.”
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Once a property has been reported to the CSA, the local unit will investigate and collaborate with property owners, with the ability to end a tenancy agreement or close a property for up to 90 days.
The act is intended to prevent criminal activity from persisting at one location while also protecting innocent parties, like landlords victimized by criminal tenants.
“There are properties that see hundreds of 911 calls for service because of an ever-changing group of criminals and offenders operating at those locations,” said RCMP Supt. Ted de Jager, president, BC Association of Chiefs of Police.
“The experiences of other jurisdictions with community safety laws show that working with the property owners can bring about lasting solutions benefiting public safety.”
Legislation similar to the CSA is present in six other canadian jurisdictions: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Yukon.
The CSA was originally unanimously passed in 2013, but was never implemented, according to the ministry.