British Columbia

B.C. municipality asks provincial Crown counsel to take action on repeat offenders

Last week, Terrace city council passed a resolution highlighting what it says is the B.C. Prosecution Service's failure to charge offenders who have repeatedly broken into downtown businesses.

Terrace council says prosecutors often release prolific offenders without consequences, meaningful conditions

On March 3, Terrace city councillors unanimously passed a resolution arguing the B.C. Prosecution Service should have charged repeat offenders and should not have released them without consequences or meaningful conditions. (City of Terrace)

The Terrace city council in B.C.'s North Coast is asking provincial Crown prosecutors to get tough on offenders who have repeatedly broken into downtown businesses — but have not been criminally charged.

In a special meeting on March 3, Terrace councillors unanimously passed a resolution that argues the B.C. Prosecution Service should have charged repeat offenders and should not have released them without consequences or imposing meaningful conditions.

"The B.C. Prosecution Service's vision statement guides them to make impartial charge assessment decisions that promote public safety, justice, and respect for the rule of law, and they often determine not to recommend charges be pursued for criminal offences that are referred by the RCMP, as charges are not in the public interest," the statement said.

The resolution, which also asks the province to define what public interest means, will be submitted to the North Central Local Government Association, a non-profit association comprised of all elected officials in northern central B.C., which will then discuss the issues with the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc says she has learned that downtown businesses are on constant alert for repeat offenders.

"People are openly smoking meth and injecting drugs in the front and the back of their building. Individuals [are] using the back or the front as a toilet, [and there are] verbal abuse and threats of physical violence from individuals when asked to leave," she said on CBC's Daybreak North.

"They've had physical threats from an individual who attempted to enter their place of business with a metal baseball bat. When that person didn't get what they wanted, he struck the metal door, leaving a large dent. He threatened to smash the office windows and their vehicles."

Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc says downtown businesses are on constant alert for vandalism by prolific offenders. (City of Terrace)

In a press release on March 4, Terrace RCMP said they had noted an obvious uptick in break-and-enters and thefts over the past two months, due to several prolific offenders returning to town. 

The Mounties said they had arrested these offenders and recommended charges to the B.C. Prosecution Service, and two of them were sentenced to jail as a result.

Leclerc says her council discussed prolific offenders with the Crown counsel several years ago, but that prosecutors told them the issues weren't worth their time to look into.

She says her council reached out to B.C. Municipal Affairs Minister Nathan Cullen on Monday, who she says has promised to arrange the council's meetings with several provincial ministers to talk about repeat offenders in Terrace.

CBC News has requested interviews with Cullen and B.C. Attorney General David Eby. Both declined the request, but Eby said in an email statement that he looks forward to meeting Leclerc, and has forwarded her concerns to the Crown counsel.

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Winston Szeto

Digital journalist

Winston Szeto is a journalist with CBC News based in Kelowna, B.C. in the unceded territories of the Syilx. He writes stories about new immigrants and LGBTQ communities. He has contributed to CBC investigative journalism programs Marketplace and The Fifth Estate. Winston speaks Cantonese and Mandarin fluently and has a working knowledge of German and Japanese. He came to Canada in 2018 from Hong Kong, and is proud to be Canadian. Send him tips at

With files from Daybreak North and Tom Popyk


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