Rainbow Lodge residents on edge over ongoing criminal activity

Residents of Rainbow Lodge packed the Evergreen Hall on March 20 to hear what police plan to do about the increased crime in their complex.

Residents of Rainbow Lodge packed the Evergreen Hall  on March 20 to hear what police plan to do about the increased crime in their complex.

“Crime is actually dropping in Langley City, except for here,” said Langley RCMP Staff Sgt. Alex Bodden, who heads the Community Policing division.

“However, I don’t think you are reporting a fraction of what’s happening here. I base police resources on statistics, so you need to report crimes for me to allocate resources.”

Residents heard that Bodden is dedicating some police time to Rainbow Lodge and the suspicious characters hanging around the complex.

“We will develop a response,” he said.

Before arriving at the meeting, Bodden looked at how many times police have been called to Rainbow Lodge in 2011.

“There are 600 units in this complex and we had 250 calls which is pretty average. But I don’t think you are reporting all the crimes taking place here, so that number should be higher. There were only two break-ins reported here last year. I did notice there was a 67 per cent increase in calls from 2009 to 2010.”

One woman said her truck has been broken into seven times.

“We can’t afford the $300 deductible each time,” she said.

No one is reporting the auto crimes anymore, the crowd said. Most don’t even go through their insurance anymore, just opting to get the windows fixed for less than the cost of a deductible.

One woman became emotional when telling the police that a break-in to her home last February has left her shaken.

“The police never took any fingerprints and I’ve never heard from them,” she said. “I feel insecure. It was a big blow.”

Another woman who lives on the first floor had her window smashed in the middle of the night.

“I sleep the sleep of the dead. I heard shattering glass and thought it was part of my dream,” she said. “It was a scary, scary time. Luckily police came and caught the man, but no charges were laid. Now every sound puts me on alert.”

She said the suspect who was caught still lurks around and inside the building, which is scary for her to deal with.

City Community Police Office co-ordinator Val Van Den Broek and Langley RCMP’s crime prevention co-ordinator Diane Robinson spoke to residents about how they can be part of the solution, by reporting crimes in progress to 911. If there are drug deals or any other activities, she asked that they write down a description and share it with the police non-emergency line at 604-532-3200.

The police will do a perimeter search of the complex and find out how security can be improved through lighting or trimming bushes and clearing walkways, etc.

“When friends are let in through the buzzer they let others in behind them. That happens a lot,” said one man. Jim, a senior who helped organize the meeting after being victimized many times over, said some of the non-seniors living at Rainbow, who have social and mental health issues, are attracting their undesirable friends to hang around the building.

Rainbow Lodge does house the recently homeless through B.C. Housing. Those friends coming to visit are committing crimes, including prostitution and drug dealing, he said.

“We’re seniors. We shouldn’t have to live out our last days dealing with these people.”

In the end, residents were appreciative of the RCMP’s visit and a committee made up residents from each building and management will be put together soon to be the “eyes and ears” of the complex.

Langley Lions Seniors Housing manager Jeannette Degenais doesn’t believe crime is on the rise in the complex.

She doesn’t believe that there are problems coming from the supportive housing for the disabled.

“Whenever it’s cold, we get people trying to get into the building to sleep but when the weather gets better, they go away,” she said.

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