Rural crime has been an issue for many years and some farmers say they are feeling more frustrated than before.
As part of Agri-Visions 2018, rural crime was a topic of conversation that saw a full house of attendees and many of them were local farmers. The discussion was surrounded around the laws in place to protect property owners and criminal offenders.
Retired Crown Prosecutor for Saskatchewan’s Department of Justice Glen Jacques says that everyone is subject to the laws of Canada whether you’re a property owner or not.
“I mean some people express frustration that some people don’t follow those laws and commit criminal acts that’s understandable, but that shouldn’t result in those same people themselves going outside the law in response to it.”
Despite the current laws a lot of rural property owners feel that they are not strong enough. Jacques says that the laws are written by parliament and in place for the police to enforce not to make up as they go. He adds that the criminal code set provisions for accused in regards to bail when a criminal is a repeat offender.
“The judges take into account things like are they going to show up for court, have they committed previous criminal offences and are likely to repeat.”
The room full of about 100 people were asked if they have had a crime take place on their property and the majority of them raised their hands. A local farmer who attended the conference says that they need something to happen rather than hearing the same things because farmers are getting a little scared.
Jacques says that many people caught up in the criminal system have some element of mental health or substance abuse issue. He adds that it has been elevated by the amount of street gangs.
“It has lead to problems faced by communities, police forces and prosecutors when you get organized crime, which in effect are what street gangs are in the picture it just increases the complexity of the playing field.”
The conference is part of the two day Agri-Visions event taking place Feb. 14 and Feb. 15.