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Opinion: Burnaby’s Metrotown is a crime-ridden mess. I got spit on and so I’m leaving

A Burnaby resident blames government agencies for not taking action
mall entrance stabbing metrotown
On Sunday at around 11:45 a.m., emergency crews responded to the parkade near the Metropolis at Metrotown Walmart for reports of a person who had been stabbed. 

I’ve read over the years a few people writing “Dear Vancouver” letters about why they are leaving the city.

Well, this is my “Dear Metrotown” letter about why I’m leaving this neighbourhood.

I’m staying in Burnaby because it’s where I grew up and I still believe in it but the Metrotown area is just simply out of control right now.

I moved here because the area has great Asian restaurants, shopping, a library, Crystal Mall and is close to a SkyTrain station.

Sure, it’s noisy but you expect that in the busiest part of our city. What I didn’t expect is just how many crazy and violent people wander this area like an outtake from the Walking Dead.

And it’s only getting worse.

I now hate going to the SkyTrain station because more often than not there is somebody yelling at people about something. I’ve been violently pushed by people. Had my purse pulled. Been followed more times than I can count.

The final straw was someone who asked me for some spare change and then spit on me because I didn’t react. I had my headphones in and didn’t hear them.

Back in December one person was stabbed to death just outside of the mall. That’s the most violent of the incidents but I regularly see people physically fighting with each other. The summer seems the worst as drugged-out zombies lie on the grass along the greenway and next to SkyTrain, hassling people as they walk by.

I do see police officers on patrol, but that’s just a band-aid. The issues go much deeper.

Government agencies are failing everyone by not having enough services for people with mental illnesses and addictions issues. Some are homeless and struggling. It’s like they’ve been dumped out on the street with no support and it’s regular people like me who pay the price for it. People need housing and supports. I’m not angry at them, I’m angry at our governments for not taking more action.

I just don’t feel safe anymore in my own hometown and so I’m actively looking to move somewhere else in Burnaby that is quieter and safer.

L. Mills, Burnaby