Former thief agrees with his own banishment
Jon Woodward, CTV British Columbia
Published Saturday, September 8, 2012 4:26PM PDT
The controversial punishment of banishment appears to have put a stop to a one-man crime wave in Mission, with even the notorious thief telling CTV News it was the right move.
Dylan Chysyk, 23, says he’s glad a Mission judge kicked him out of town about two months ago because it stopped him from hanging out with what he calls a “bad crowd.”
It has given him the space to follow the other part of the judge’s order to get treatment for a crystal meth and heroin addiction that fueled the crimes, Chysyk said.
“It’s a good idea,” Chysyk told CTV News. “It gives me time to be here, to work on myself, focus on the future, and have a lot of tools with me to move forward.”
Chysyk admitted to stealing from 90 cars in just six weeks. He smashed windows and pillaged whatever he could find, which included laptops, iPods, and sometimes just spare change.
“I couldn’t really tell you how much [I stole] because I was messed up in my own little world,” Chysyk said. “That’s all I did: go, go, go. I would get high. It gets to the point that you need to do more and more to get high, and you need to do more crime to get by.”
It was a shocking turn for a young man who, according to him, grew up in a good home in Mission and had held down construction jobs.
“I wasn’t raised like that,” he said. “I came from a good home, and I feel really ashamed for doing it.”
Mission RCMP Insp. Richard Konarski said it’s astonishing how much crime one addict can commit. Assuming someone can get 10 cents on the dollar for each stolen piece of merchandise, Chysyk would have to steal $2,000 a day to feed his habit. He had an enormous impact on crime rates in Mission.
“It was insane,” Konarski said. “Our property offenses across the board were the same as the previous year. But theft from motor vehicles had gone crazy.”
When Chysyk was arrested, the judge granted bail, with conditions that he should get drug addiction treatment at Vision Quest Recovery House in Langley, and that he should stay away from the entire city of Mission.
It’s a popular -- and populist -- move. Earlier this summer, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford vowed to tell gun criminals to hit the road.
“They’re cowards and they will not be part of the city,” he said in an interview with CP24. “We’re going to chase them out of town.”
The federal government poured cold water on his idea, pointing out that only judges can make such orders.
These “no go” orders usually apply to a particular business, street, or area. It’s rare that an order will extend to the whole city.
Vision Quest Director Jim O’Rourke says banishment alone may not be effective because it just moves crime around.
“You’re just going to put him in another neighbourhood,” he said. “Surrey has a drug problem, but Delta doesn’t? There are cars everywhere.”
Banning someone can help them get away from bad influences, but unless there’s a solution at the other end then the crime will continue, he said.
“Banning him from the town of Mission, that’s neither here nor there," he said. "Sending him to treatment does help. That’s a beautiful thing."
Konarski said he hopes that Chysyk can kick his drug habit and stop stealing cars.
“If Dylan Chysyk never breaks into a car again, I could care less whether he went to jail,” he said. “Now he’s won. Everybody’s won. You have a person who can go on and have a life.”
Chysyk says he is sorry for what he did, although he knows it is going to take a lot more to earn forgiveness from the community. It has been two months since the young man has used any drugs, but he says he knows recovery from addiction is a long road.
“Really it’s all up to you if you want to change,” he said. “By showing consideration that I care, and that I want to make a change in my life, and that I’m taking steps, slowly but surely, I can have a positive, hopefully good recovery in the future.”