Abbotsford is in the public spotlight for the right reasons.
After a decade that saw gang violence, frequent shootings, targeted killings and this city labelled with the dubious moniker “murder capital of Canada” in the national press, the city had a reputation in need of repair.
And it is being overhauled.
Abbotsord is now statistically doing better than neighbouring municipalities, with fewer crimes, and less severe crimes, according to the Statistics Canada numbers released last week.
Overall crime is down 12.3 per cent in Abbotsford, and violent crime is down 26 per cent.
Those are impressive reductions, and the numbers confirm a noticeable change in the community.
Cheif Bob Rich and the Abbotsford Police Department have shown dedication and resourcefulness in tackling crime in this community. They launched a crime prevention and awareness campaign focused on making young people and parents aware of the dangers and myths associated with a criminal lifestyle.
Identifying local gang members, and making their lives in Abbotsford difficult, was another important part of the campaign against crime. Joining with Abbotsford’s licensed establishments, they have made this community an inhospitable one for the criminal element.
And most importantly, they have brought charges against many of the key players on the Abbotsford crime scene.
There is still a lot of work to be done before Abbotsford could boast of being the safest city in B.C. – the department’s goal. But they have made a great start.