EDITORIAL: Sizable cost for riot justice

Bringing riot culprits to justice comes at considerable cost to taxpayers.

It has been more than four months since the Stanley Cup riots erupted in downtown Vancouver, an event that not only destroyed vehicles, storefronts and other private property, but left an entire city’s reputation tarnished.

It was, by any measure, the province’s largest single crime spree.

Because of that, Vancouver’s population felt violated and demanded justice. A decision was made to pursue those responsible.

In the ensuing weeks and months, Vancouver Police Department’s 50-member Integrated Riot Investigation Team has pored over video, still photos and social media to bring those responsible before the courts.

Millions of dollars and countless man hours are being spent, and earlier this week it was announced that 60 people were identified and a total of 163 charges were laid.

More are coming.

Many of the charges include mischief, jumping on vehicles, break-and-enter, assault, and participating in a riot.

Over the last few months the cry for justice has not calmed. Society wants to see those responsible brought before the courts and punished for their actions on the night of June 15, and, over time, we will get just that.

But at what cost?

Break and enters happen every day in Vancouver. Indeed, much worse crimes take place like murder, drinking and driving causing death, and robberies with weapons.

Should we not be pursuing those criminals with equal persistence? Should society not be outraged by those actions?

Those of us who were not part of the riot on June 15 were all victims, but the resources and money spent to pursue these people who, for the most part, committed minor crimes, should be kept in perspective.

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