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Crime Prevention and Safety
The city is facing a crime problem, but the source of the problem to a large extent is related to socio-economic issues such as unemployment, addiction, substance abuse, poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and family breakdown.
The cell blocks are full by 3 am on a Friday night and half of those people do not belong there. In many cases they are also using up the resources of the paramedics and of the hospital emergency rooms.
I believe that my role of citizen representative requires that I have a full understanding of the issues affecting our city. We could not do our job effectively if it was not so; therefore, during my term of Council I have asked to accompany a Police Officer on a night-shift patrol to see first hand what is happening on our streets. I have done so twice with the Police and with our Paramedics on an afternoon and evening shifts.
I want to thank our Police Officers, our Paramedics and Fire Service personnel for their professionalism in difficult circumstances and want to assure them of my full confidence and support as we move forward in protecting our citizens.
We need a comprehensive approach to deal with the source of the problem by engaging all related government and social agencies in a coordinated fashion including the legal system. For example, we need the province to provide more beds for addiction related treatment, and the legal system to offer a speedier process in the courts, as many police resources are being tied up in lengthy courts proceedings. Police resources could then be deployed more effectively in keeping the community safe from real crime.
As your Mayor, I would support the expansion of the current crime prevention council and include direct talks with the Provincial and Federal governments to provide funding for proactive social programs, as well as First Nation Chiefs and Aboriginal agencies for transitional programs for youth and adults at risk who move into Thunder Bay from Aboriginal Communities.
It is through a collaborative effort aimed at preventing the source of these problems that we can have long-term safety in our community, and give every citizen an opportunity to play a meaningful role in its future prosperity.