Rise of the Vigilante Phenomenon Worries Homeless Advocates

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L&rsquo ;rise of the vigilante phenomenon worries defenders of the homeless

Over the past year, the RCMP has issued warnings to discourage the public from taking the law into their own hands. (File photo)

Homelessness advocates fear for public safety due to a spike in people taking legal action, citing the ;example of a man accompanied by five people who was hit by a bullet while attempting to retrieve stolen property from a tent city in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were called Sunday afternoon after a mechanic shop owner was shot in the stomach after trying to retrieve tools stolen from the homeless encampment of the city.

The RCMP says this kind of behavior cannot be tolerated.

Putting your life at risk or risking injury or injury to others for stolen property is not worth it, Constable Gary O'Brien said Monday. If people try to seek justice for themselves, it never ends well.

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog says the City is facing a crisis public safety that it cannot control and seeks the assistance of the federal and provincial governments.

When a government is no longer able to protect its people and property , this is a dangerous situation.

Homeless advocates ask the public not to pick on vulnerable people.

In the interior, Penticton Area Overdose Prevention Society co-founder Desiree Surowski says it's still dangerous to lash out to vulnerable people who are in survival mode.

“If they feel threatened, their brains can only adopt three behaviors: flight, fight or inability to move. If they decide to struggle, it can lead to injury like it did in Nanaimo.

— Desiree Surowski, Co-Founder, Penticton Area Overdose Prevention Society

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog says the City is facing a public safety crisis that 'she can't control.

Over the past year, the RCMP has issued warnings against taking the law into their own hands.

In January, the group even began to patrol the streets and follow suspects.

With information from Claire Palmer and Andrew Kurjata

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