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2014-07-09 at 16:27

Homicide history

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY - Murders are a fact of life, says the city's mayor.

"You're never going to stop homicides. I don't care who you are. I don't care what mayor you are, what president you are. People are violent to other people," said Mayor Keith Hobbs.

On Tuesday, 52-year-year old Christopher Adams became Thunder Bay's fourth murder victim of 2014 as he succumbed to injuries sustained in a serious assault and alleged robbery in front of city hall in the early hours of Canada Day.

That brings the total number of homicides in the city in the past five years to 23, a number that hasn't been seen in Thunder Bay since the early ‘90s when over a five-year period from 1991 to 1995, police investigated 24 murders.

In comparing decades, using data from Statistics Canada, Thunder Bay saw 37 homicides in the 1990s and Hobbs said the city is on track for that again.

"Thunder Bay has always had a high homicide rate right back (to when) I became a police officer in 1976 and the homicide rate was high in the '70s, '80s, '90s, 2000s and this decade as well," he said.

But what has changed is that the city has started to look at what is causing the high rates and initiating programs to address the root causes of poverty, mental health issues and alcohol and drug use.

"That's the key to this," said Hobbs. "I think if we resolve those, we could see our violent rates come down."

"It's going to take a while to fix this issue for sure," he added.

Thunder Bay Police Service's Deputy Chief Andy Hay echoed the mayor's feelings that addressing the root causes of crime is what will bring the murder rate down.

"A typical Thunder Bay homicide generally deals with a group of people that live high-risk lifestyles that are entrenched and fueled by alcohol, drug abuse, violent relationships," he said.

"It's not something the average person is going to encounter."

Where the murder rate will land by the end of the year isn't easily predicted, said Hay, who noted that while there have been four homicides so far, the police are concerned but it's not unexpected.

"I don't think what's happening right now is a real anomaly," he said.

Until the social issues are addressed, Hay said police expect the murder rate to remain relatively constant.

From 2011 to 2012, the city saw a 17 per cent decline in crime severity and Hay believes initiatives like the alcohol management program, cold weather Street Outreach Service (SOS) program and the crime prevention council are making a difference.

"I expect we will see some very good results from it but it's going to take a number of years before everything catches up and we can see what the real benefits are," Hay said.


 

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Comments

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tammetree says:
I take great offense to the comment stating that "It's not something the average person is going to encounter" . I am speaking against this comment for my Uncle Robert Topping who was in the process of helping someone in need when he was the victim of a brutal unforseen attack and for you to suggest he was entrenched in a lifestyle of alcohol, drugs and violence really demeans his life and our family. I suppose the only one point that was accurate is that Robert Topping wasn't an "average person". He was an EXTRORDINARY person. May I suggest that Mayor Keith Hobbs and Deputy Chief Andy Hay not say anything if they don't know what they are talking about.
7/9/2014 5:51:32 PM
Shane Caker says:
If you're going to quote, please quote all of the relevant pieces together.

""A typical Thunder Bay homicide generally deals with a group of people that live high-risk lifestyles that are entrenched and fueled by alcohol, drug abuse, violent relationships," he said.

"It's not something the average person is going to encounter.""
7/10/2014 12:40:41 AM
Back-in-the-bay says:
You're certainly entitled to an opinion, but what a strange thing to deduce from that comment. Being angry at the circumstance and outcome of that horrible tragedy is one thing, but to be offended by these accurate statements is another. The fact that Mr. Topping was there and in that situation did surely make him uh average, as you seem to understand, but to think this also implied such great disrespect to your family and his memory is truly unwarranted. Using this tragedy as a political tool is offensive.
7/10/2014 7:28:53 AM
fastball says:
With all due respect to your uncle's experience - I would venture to suggest that the overwhelming majority of violent crime in this city is committed between people who are known to each other....and not of the random kind.
Again, sympathies to your uncle.

7/10/2014 7:44:12 AM
enos012 says:
Poverty being the main issue, which is created by those in power, the wealthy and the goverment. Most turn to booze and drugs caused by stress due to a lack of $$$, or assualt or a vicious cycle of self lothing, which than becomes thier addiction
7/9/2014 6:59:21 PM
Arch Stanton says:
Quote: "Murders are a fact of life" says the city's mayor. "You're never going to stop homicides. I don't care who you are."

Well, at least we now know that Hobbs has truly given up on trying to make this City a better place... TIME TO PACK YOUR BAGS, KEITH! Hand over to someone who wants to try to make a difference!!!
7/9/2014 9:22:28 PM
tsb says:
I'm sorry, but you need to stop being delusional. The majority of our homicides in private situations between people who know each other. You, Arch, are more likely to be murdered by your son, father, or wife than you are to be killed randomly in the street. Homicide in this city is a result of violent assault going too far, and it is the violent assault we need to work on preventing, not homicide.

Focusing so much on homicide rates distracts us from the real crime problem.
7/10/2014 7:21:51 AM
livewire says:
Hobb's better start looking at the big picture in Thunder Bay and maybe start getting outside of city hall . Open your eye's an take the blinders off!
7/9/2014 10:26:41 PM
Who-cares says:
Hobbs ran for Mayor with his tough on crime promises, he hasn't done a damn thing. He should be ashamed of his track record as Mayor. Tell me what has he accomplished since he has been in office? All I see is a city falling apart, crime is out of control, people are being beaten to death outside city hall. Yet all he does is nothing. It's time to put up or shut up, I realize that your the mayor and not a policeman anymore. However true leadership starts at the top, and your nowhere near it. Now get to work.
7/10/2014 2:47:04 AM
fastball says:
Yeah, because he's personally responsible for the soaring rates of alcoholism and drug abuse in society which is probably 90 percent of the problem. He's personally responsible for a legal system that won't prosecute, or plea bargains down to time served, or kicks offenders out after mere fractions of their sentences have been served.
Other than instituting curfews or putting 100 more cops on the street - what exactly do you propose the mayor do, in your expert opinion?
Let's hear your solutions...or is it easier to just sit and squawk?
7/10/2014 11:59:46 AM
maltopian says:
Actually, yeah, he kinda is responsible. You run for mayor because you DO have solutions. We as citizens DO have the right to expect resourceful and innovative solutions from someone who said he could do it, who ostensibly had the background to know how, and has been given the money and power to do it. Yeah. He is at fault if nothing changes.
7/10/2014 12:15:55 PM
conker2012 says:
You do not run for mayor because you have all the answers, you run for mayor because you have the strength to make tough decisions based on the facts given.

The people that have the answers and solutions are the intellectuals and experts commonly referred to as consultants. These people dedicate their lives to mastering specific topics. Though these people may not be right every time, statistically they are right more often than they are wrong. The job of the Mayor is not to be responsible for crime or issues the city faces, but rather to be a the leader of council and balance work with experts, the community and the budget to find the best solution to challenges the city is facing.

Stop putting him up on a pedestal as some king to be torn down when he is wrong, and accept the fact that often things like homicide cannot be predicted or prevented. Be glad that we have strict gun laws or the homicide rate would be 5-10 times what it is now.
7/10/2014 4:40:07 PM
Rob20 says:
We are sorry Mr. Mayor for troubling you with actual issues going on in the city, we didn't mean to interfere with your reelection bid. Sorry to actually bring up stuff that's actually going on and needs addressing which you have failed to do so since you've been in office. Please go back to shoveling the event center down our throats while you tell us everything is okay as people get beaten on the street late at night, Robbed, murdered, and continue to experience increasing levels of violence across our city. I think the fact that you basically stated nothing has changed since you began as a police officer in the 70s goes along way to speaking towards how ineffective you were as leader in the police force and as an elected member of our counsel.
7/10/2014 7:38:49 AM
moonwolf says:
Say what you want about Thunder Bay, but it's not the same city I grew up in. I no longer feel safe after dark...anywhere in this city. I have a large dog to protect myself and my property. I won't use footpaths to walk my dog, at any time of day. I have friends who have been robbed, even one that was home at the time. It's(murder)already happened to innocent residents in the city...take your head out of the sand, and protect yourself and your families! Beware of bridges and bush lots!!!!!
7/10/2014 8:31:43 AM
chbaker says:
Mayor Hobbs ran his entire campaign on stating he was going to fight and reduce crime.

Wow, did he ever fail badly.

I hope the NEW mayor is more competent.
7/10/2014 9:21:15 AM
orig junkyarddog says:
Another Cop Out by our mayor who promised Safer Streets a crackdown on crime and a host of other promises that have not been kept, (Oh Wait.scratch those he changed his mind ) So as far as im concerned anything that he says, He might as well be farting in the wind . and that it smells just as bad.
He hasn't put any initiatives in place to make our citizens any safer, and that's where he has performed an epic fail.
Doug Powell
7/10/2014 10:04:41 AM
espo says:
how's that "eye in the sky"working out? money well spent?
7/10/2014 10:41:25 AM
satyrikon says:
Homicide rate is irrelevant. The numbers I'd like to see are the stabbings and assaults over the last 15 years.

Crimes that in my book are attempted murder, but in our justice system are minor offenses warranting little more then a slap on the wrist.

All the homicide rate means, is stabbings and assaults that were successful with the original intent of the violence.
7/10/2014 11:27:12 AM
westfort resident says:
No words of condolence to the family of Christopher Adams from either Mayor Hobbs or Deputy Chief Andy Hay. Those should have been the first words out of their mouths!

So much for showing compassion for someone whose life ended violently in front of City Hall.

And no harsh words for the perpetrators, Hobbs?

Something like, "We will continue to aggressively pursue this case until those responsible are caught and charged" would have been appropriate to reassure the public that police are dedicated to find those responsible.

Despicable and shameful, Hobbs and Hay.
7/10/2014 1:04:34 PM
tammetree says:
To respond to back in the Bay says, for you to suggest that I was using this as a political tool is offensive because I would have had the same emotional reaction and response to it regardless of what their job was, I was simply responding to who said it and acknowledged thief belief in it in the article. If you haven't lived through something like this I don't feel you could comprehend what it's like and of course that is my opinion and if you have and still didn't feel the same, we'll then you would be entitled to your opinion and Yes I still feel absolutely no different about my response than before you responded to it.
7/10/2014 1:04:37 PM
Thor Odinson says:
I walk home from work (downtown) in the wee hours of the morning. Know who I see? Nobody. I never see a soul.

Now, I'm disappointed in Hobbs for all the campaign promises he made regarding crime that he was perfectly able to at least spread awareness about, but on which he suddenly became mum as soon as he took office. The Citizen Patrol was a good idea that he never mentioned once after taking office. Unlike some posters here, I realise that Hobbs as a municipal politician can only do so much as far as crime and justice, which is not a municipal responsibility when it comes to the type of crime people are worried about. But the only thing Hobbs ever suggested was a curfew, when most crime is committed during the day and not by youth. Nice try, Keith. I like you, but I'll abstain from voting for mayor rather than vote for you again.
7/10/2014 1:17:40 PM
loverlyLOLO says:
Hobbs should be ashamed that his political promises of reducing crime has actually caused our crime rate to RISE! Unbelievable and embarassing.
7/10/2014 2:15:47 PM
my 2 cents says:
Well then he must be correct in saying that he is the hardest working mayor. Taking on his duties, as well as personally increasing crime rates. Wow, when does he sleep.

Can you please share your knowledge of how his promises caused crime to increase. It should make for entertaining reading.

Eyeroll
7/11/2014 1:05:49 PM
shara99 says:
what did you expect mayor hobbs to do?? take out his m-15, handgun, whatever means he needs to stop the CRIME.. that is NOT his job.. it's yours..
7/10/2014 9:38:25 PM
loverlyLOLO says:
@shara99 Um no. But don't make it a political promise if its not YOUR job...
7/11/2014 11:13:36 AM
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