Safe Streets Act curbs bad public behaviour

This act is relatively new but is used quite often, said Terrace RCMP community policing officer Const. Angela Rabut.

THE SAFE Streets Act aims to ensure appropriate behaviour of people in public.

This provincially legislated act is relatively new, beginning in 2004, but is used quite often, said Terrace RCMP community policing officer Const. Angela Rabut.

It gives police officers a way to stop people from behaving badly in public without having to charge them criminally, which is what would happen before the legislation came into being, she explained.

That way it prevents charges being laid for acts that aren’t necessarily in the public interest to prosecute, she said.

“It’s given police tools to use that are more appropriate,” said Rabut about the act.

Fines are given to people under the act for soliciting in an aggressive manner or soliciting to a captive audience, such as a person waiting for a bus or at a bank machine, or soliciting a person in a vehicle or at a named event. Fines are $86 or $115 depending on the violation.

There has to be a balance as people have a right to ask for change but people also have the right to walk down the street without being harassed, she said.

“The rights of everyone have to be respected,” said Rabut.

When a person doesn’t feel safe due to someone soliciting money or something else, that’s considered aggressive.

That can include a group of two or more people following a person, which can be aggressive as soon as the person being followed doesn’t feel a sense of security, she explained.

Businesses have a right to make a living and if panhandlers threaten customers, they won’t return.

Officers weigh the balance as a person may not be aggressive but if the person is at the doorway of a business all the time, customers may not come to the business.

When the act came out, it was extremely controversial as it was believed that it would target poor people, said Rabut.

But the act targets behaviour and not specifically poor people, she added.

At the same time, just because someone is poor, it doesn’t give that person the right to behave badly or occupy private doorways, she said.

As the Safe Streets Act isn’t part of the criminal code, only police officers can enforce it; private security people or “downtown ambassadors” cannot.


Just Posted

Terrace Chamber of Commerce extends nomination deadline

Public is encouraged to recognize award-worthy businesses in 14 categories

‘It affects everybody:’ Trudeau’s brownface photos worry Wet’suwet’en chief

Skeena-Bulkley Valley Liberal candidate declines to comment on prime minister’s indiscretion

City of Terrace holds 39th annual Terry Fox Run

Almost $2K was raised towards cancer research

Former college trailers see new life with Kinsmen Club of Terrace

Eight trailers will be used to revive the organization’s youth camp at Lakelse Lake

VIDEO: B.C.’s famous cat Grandpa Mason has died

The story of the feral cat that started fostering kittens touched people around the world

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Charges stayed against Alberta RCMP officer in alleged off-duty Whistler assault

Const. Vernon Hagen instead completed an alternative measures program

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

Most Read