The RCMP’s Targeted Enforcement Unit has taken down another prolific offender.
Last Wednesday RCMP arrested Ian James MacDonald, age 38, who is believed to be responsible for a series of break and enters, including the theft of a vehicle that morning. MacDonald, with over 100 criminal convictions, resisted arrest and was taken into custody after a short struggle.
“It’s not often you come across a bad guy with that horrendous a record. He is a very brazen criminal, so obviously, it’s a relief getting this guy off the streets” said Cpl. Scott VanEvery of the TEU.
It’s the latest in a series of collars for the TEU, including a July arrest of a man, released from jail 10 days earlier, in possession of heroin/fentanyl outside the welfare office.
Earlier this month, they helped Oliver RCMP arrest another prolific offender.
RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager said these are exactly the type of criminals the TEU is mandated to put pressure on.
“We do know that the majority of crimes is committed by a small minority of offenders,” said De Jager. “Those are the prolific offenders that we really need to target and that is exactly what they are doing, going after the people that cause the most harm to our community.”
De Jager said there are only three choices for these prolific offenders.
“It’s stop doing crime, because we are going to be all over you. The second one is move out of our community. Since our community … goes all the way from Summerland to Princeton, you need to make a big move and get out.
“Or three, go to jail. Those are the options, there is nothing else.”
Going after those prolific offenders is a non-stop job, said De Jager. Sometimes the successes come rapidly, but at other times, the focus is on investigation and surveillance to track them down.
“Then all of a sudden you see that big rollout of a number of people being taken off the board and being put into custody,” said De Jager. “Most of the work we do, the public will never see. That’s always a balancing act to get people to understand that.”
De Jager is careful to make a distinction between the TEU’s targets and the Community Support and Enforcement Team’s work with more visible street people and chronic social issues.
“When we are talking break and enters, anything of a violent nature, drug dealing, that’s not done by the people you see walking down the street pushing a shopping cart. Unfortunately, the public associates them. The prolific offenders we are talking about are career criminals, they are violent individuals, they have chosen a lifestyle of crime, and that is who the TEU goes after.”
The “street-entrenched population” might commit crimes of opportunity, like stealing valuables from an unlocked car, De Jager explains, but they aren’t typically committing higher level or violent crimes.
“I am not saying we are going to eliminate violent crime, I am not naive,” said De Jager. “Nor should we as a community think that all crime is going to go away by throwing more cops at it, but it will discourage that type of higher end crime, by targeting the type of people that are most likely to do it.”
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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