A couple weeks ago, Hillsborough residents gathered in a community hall to discuss the problem of teen vandalism in the community. To our great surprise, a contingent of teens showed up with a spokesperson to state their case. At the end of the evening, they were soliciting the names of people who had damage done to their property and were promising to fix what had been broken.
Unfortunately, they can’t. What has been broken is a community’s trust in policing. People asked why the RCMP force tolerates drunken, underage teens in public. We heard stories of unsatisfactory follow-ups on complaints. Response times are laughable due to the large geographical area covered by too few officers. It appears inadequate staffing is to blame. Since removing the detachment from Hillsborough, we no longer have a lockup or a handy police presence. We’ve had to hire outside security.
We can accept this and bitterly complain to ourselves while the situation worsens from acts of vandalism to violence, or we can refuse to accept the degradation of our community lifestyle and proactively complain to Hon. John W. Foran, Minister of Public Safety. Last week the village sent out a newsletter encouraging people to write to our government about these concerns; they even have form letters for residents to sign at the Village Office. Whining that it will do no good is not an acceptable response; to do nothing, is to gain nothing.
What we don't stop to consider is the bigger picture. What we have to lose is not just safety and the protection of property, but the future of our youth. How many teens are learning to deal with life using anger and alcohol?
A silent voice will never be heard. This isn’t just a village problem, it’s a growing problem. I’ve sent off my letter already…have you?