Frustrated Lethbridge residents take stand against rampant drug activity, crime
Community members in north Lethbridge are uniting in an effort to reclaim their neighbourhood and thwart the increasing drug-related crime and violence.
Connecting Our Community – Lethbridge hosted a rally Monday to bring awareness to the issue. The group continues to share warnings of suspicious activity on their Facebook page, and have placed brightly coloured posters in the neighbourhood encouraging people to "report all drug activity" and to "keep your children safe".
"We have to report crime," said Mallory Krist Janson of Connection Our Community. "If we want to actually show the community of Lethbridge how much crime has increased over the last year and a half specifically. We need to report that to police."
John John, a single father of six, has lived on 6A Avenue North since 2011 and says this summer is the first time he's experienced crime in the neighbourhood.
"My bike is gone," said John John. "In two days, I find my son's bike is gone too."
In addition to the theft of the two bicycles that had been locked up with chains, thieves have stripped tires and other parts from bikes on John John's property.
John John says he's frustrated and angry and is in no position to purchase new bikes for his children. He can't begin to speculate on how he'd react if he caught an intruder in his backyard. "I respect the law but what's the law going to do? Are they going to bring my kids' stuff back?"
Connecting Our Community Lethbridge says residents need to take a stand and bring exposure to the issue. The groups is advocating for better services, including treatment, detox, and supportive housing, for those struggling with drug addiction.
The group has condemned a recent paintball attack on a staff member and clients of the local supervised consumption site, referring to the incident as both "horrific" and "disappointing"
Lethbridge police officials say they understand the frustrations of the residents and are encouraged to see so many community members working together for the cause.
Lethbridge councillor Blaine Hyggen attended Monday night's meeting and, after learning of the theft of John John's bikes, donated new bikes to the family on behalf of Hyggen's business, Copy Express.
With files from CTV's Terry Vogt