Monday Magazine: more cops for Downtown

April 10, 2008 at 4:57 am 1 comment

I had a chat with Jason Youmans from Monday Magazine recently on the City’s plan to hire 21 new police officers. My comments were incorporated into a feature in this week’s issue on the need for more police despite falling crime rates. This might seem counterintuitive, but we have to remember that the VPD has been forced to cut corners for years now and those new officers are needed to return to a more sustainable level of policing.

Here’s my quote from the article:

Downtown Residents Association chair Robert Randall isn’t so sure presence without active enforcement will do much except send low-level drug dealers skittering into the shadows when they see the glint of a badge, only to re-emerge when the danger has passed.

“I think we would welcome the addition of more officers downtown,” says Randall. “But I say that with a considerable degree of hesitation. It really depends how the police intend to use the new bodies.”

Randall says he would prefer any new police presence to work undercover at busting the drug peddlers who are ultimately the source behind much of the unpredictable behaviour and petty crime thought to plague the core and its surrounding areas.

However, he cautions even this would prove fruitless unless a community court system akin to that in Vancouver and New York was established that could mete out punishment or help addicts access social services, rather than spending a night in the clink only to return to their street corner the next morning.

And it is access to housing and social services that Randall says could hinder even a significantly increased police presence from lending any further degree of security to downtown.

“It’s not illegal to be addicted to drugs and to walk around downtown flailing your arms,” he says. “So I’m not sure where the police fit in there.”

I also mentioned that trying to hire new officers is one thing, convincing them to move here in the face of our high cost of living is another challenge altogether.

Our police are only part of a more comprehensive approach to solving the problems regarding homelessness, drug crime and social disorder. We can’t continue to have them serve as social workers.

Entry filed under: media, social issues.

More on Morley’s and the Janion Centennial Square design charette [updated May 9, 2009]

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. M. FORSTHOVEL  |  June 5, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE FUNDING
    FROM THE GOVERNMENT REGARDING
    SOCIAL ILLS. THESE PEOPLE ARE SUFFERING.
    MORE COMPASSION AND LESS JUDGEMENTS.
    OUR PLACE NEEDS MORE CASH SOON.
    OPERATING ONLY PART TIME IS NOT A REAL
    HOMELESS SHELTER. BALANCE THE ISSUES.

    Reply

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