Show up and step up

Crime prevention workshops an attempt to address crime in the community of Fort St. James and Nak'azdli

Karla Olinek knows the solution is not going to be easy, but she also knows she and her coworkers can not do it alone.

“As a community we need to step up and create a better community,” she said.

Olinek is speaking about crime prevention workshops she is helping to organize, in partnership with the RCMP, District of Fort St. James, Nak’azdli Band Council and the College of New Caledonia.

The workshops will be facilitated by Zandra Ross, a consultant, and are scheduled for Oct. 29 and Nov.13 at the Music Makers Hall from 4-8 p.m..

“it is not a complaint session,” said Olinek. The workshops will be a two-part series, with the first session  bringing forward issues and concerns, which can then be focussed into top priorities.

But for each issue, people must also bring forward a solution or something they may be able to do to help.

“As community members, we can all do a little bit,” she said. “For me, ownership is a big component.”

The timing might appear to be in response to the recent negative publicity around Fort St. James and negative criminal activity, such as the Fribjon Bjornson murder, and the more recent home invasion, where witnesses appear reluctant to come forward.

However, Olinek said the workshops were already in the works, and she feels, despite suggestions by a recent CBC story to the contrary, RCMP are doing what they can.

“We have a great partnership with the RCMP,” she said.

While these types of initiatives have been tried in the past, Olinek hopes this one, given the latest media and crime in the community, will get a greater response from the community than past events like it.

“We’re a mixed community and as a community we need to come forward and create solution,” she said. “When it comes down to it, we’re going to get out of it what we put into it.”

In other words, if no one shows up, nothing will happen, but this also means there is no room for a person not interested in being part of the solution to complain then, according to Olinek.

“If you don’t show up and step up, there no room for you to complain,” she said. “I want to be a contributing member of the community and I think we should all have that attitude.”

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