The population of Vancouver’s neighbour to the east has been steadily expanding since 1986, and at over 200,000 residents, Burnaby is the third most populated urban centre in British Columbia behind Vancouver and Surrey.
Crime in Burnaby
As with all thriving cities, Burnaby is not without some issues, among the most distressing being the high rate of crime the city experiences. In 2011 Burnaby was the 26th most dangerous city in Canada according to Maclean’s magazine.
At the time the data was collected, Burnaby’s crime rate was roughly 20 per cent higher than the national average. An unexpected turn from when the very same magazine called Burnaby the best-run city in Canada just a few years before.
There is no clear reason why the rate of crime is so high in the area but a large population of young males might be a reason. Andrew Presto, 22, has been living in Burnaby for 3 years feels that it’s due to the ease of access of narcotics.
“Most everyone here knows a drug dealer or two. Even if they just sell weed,” said Presto
This year alone there have been almost 600 cars reported stolen and over 1800 thefts from cars according to Burnaby RCMP reports.
Making a difference
Because of this issue and more, Jane Jae Kyung Shin chose to become the MLA for Burnaby’s Lougheed area as a member of the NDP in 2013 also becoming the first Korean Canadian elected to the provincial legislature.
MLA for Burnaby-Lougheed, Jane Jae Kyung Shin. (Legislative Assembly of British Columbia photo)
“Political commitment became imminent for me when I realized how much a product I am of all the progressive policies that made Canada the country it is,” said Shin
An immigrant of South Korea, Shin came to Canada when she was 11 years-old. Throughout her life, Shin and her family have benefited from a number of Canadian rights and freedoms, like universal health care when she fell seriously ill when at 16.
When shin started to see these privileges being lost she felt she needed to do something about it.
“Over the last decade, things have changed and for the worse in B.C. And I decided to get involved,” said Shin.
Being an immigrant herself, Shin is a good representative of her city’s diverse population where at any given time you could hear the unique sounds of over 100 different languages being spoken.
In fact according to the Canada 2011 Census, Burnaby’s visible minority population was 40 percentage points higher than the national average at 59.5 per cent.