Maryse Carey could very well have said nothing.
She could have continued to repair the growing number of vandalized safes, replace more and more stolen apartment and vehicle keys, install an increasing number of anti-pry plates to reinforce doors – and get paid. to do it.
But Carey, owner of a Carey My Keys lock and safe store in Moncton, says she can’t in good conscience take her eyes off what is behind this unexpected business boom.
She says break-ins, vandalism, theft and other crimes are “completely out of hand” in the Greater Moncton area.
And she fears they will continue, or even worsen, unless the growing problem of homelessness and drug use is addressed and police services and mental health supports are increased.
Carey and her husband, Travis, have stores in Moncton and Dieppe. Carey said she has seen the disturbing trend in both places over the past year. And over the past six months, she said, it has skyrocketed.
Broken locks, stolen keys, vandalized piggy banks
“People are breaking locks to get in, people are breaking into washer-dryer lockers, people are setting up camp in the hallway, which makes the residents of the apartment very uncomfortable,” he said. she declared.
“Sometimes they try to open the electrical rooms, so they damage the locks in the electrical room, try to enter to steal. They steal keys … left for NB Power, for the fire department in an emergency.”
Carey said it breaks her heart to see her customers come week after week to have the same repairs done and key replaced over and over again.
“One day when a customer came with eight washers [coin] boxes that had just been pierced, I was like, ‘This is getting completely out of control.’ And I just felt like I had to do something to help them. “
Letter sent to the mayors of the Tri-cities
On Tuesday, Carey sent a letter to the three mayors in the area, listing the many types of damage his business has had to repair – and re-repair – over the past year, asking, “What’s happening to the Greater Moncton? What is the source of the problem? And how can we solve it, together? “
She asked them to consider meeting with apartment building owners, property management companies and others to discuss the issue.
Friday night, none of them had answered him.
However, Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold’s office responded to a request for comment from CBC on Friday morning, noting that the mayor had received the letter and forwarded it to the RCMP, “as she remains responsible for the fight against crime ”.
“Unfortunately, with the growth that Moncton has experienced in recent years, there are challenges that arise,” said communications director Austin Henderson in the email, noting that “these are also not exclusive to Moncton. “.
Henderson said “Tackling homelessness and substance use in our region is a top priority for the city.”
“The City has taken many steps to address these challenges, but we know more work is still needed,” he said.
“We continue to work with partners using an ‘everyone on deck’ approach to ensure that the fundamentals of housing and coverage services [such as] mental health and addiction support, safe supplies, the fight against poverty… are in place. “
The mayor “concerned” by the increase in crime
Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre said on Friday he was out of the area this week and “catching up with his emails.”
“At the moment, I can only say that we are concerned about the increasing level of crime in the area,” Lapierre said in an email.
“We are aware of some break-ins in some neighborhoods, but not aware of some of the other issues that Ms. Carey has raised. I have already asked our staff to request more information from the RCMP, in terms of statistics and crime reports. “
Riverview Mayor Andrew LeBlanc did not comment on Carey’s letter, stating in an email that he was “not available” on Friday due to previous engagements.
In the meantime, Carey is working to get things done locally.
She has been in contact with several residents and businesses and suggested they form a committee of business owners, property managers, apartment building owners and residents to bring their concerns to City Council.
She said she knew a lot had already been done to address the issues, including increased funding for homeless shelters and reinforced RCMP patrols downtown and problematic areas.
But she thinks a lot more is needed, especially in terms of mental health supports, which she says are “inadequate, if I can put it that way.”
“Something has to be done,” she said. “Before, it’s completely out of control.