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2014-07-23 at 17:00

Crime rate dips

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- The city’s crime rate may be on a downward trend, but the police chief says there are still issues that need to be addressed.

“We’re not under any illusion that we haven’t got a lot of work to do yet,” said J.P. Levesque, police chief with the Thunder Bay Police Service.

Statistics Canada released its annual national crime report Wednesday and lists the Thunder Bay metropolitan area’s crime severity index at 80 for 2013, a seven per cent drop from the year before.

That number continues a five-year downward trend for the city; in 2009 the crime severity index, which measures the seriousness of reported crimes, was 114.78.

Thunder Bay was also third for homicides for cities with a population greater than 100,000 with three murders in 2013. Regina took the No. 1 spot followed by Winnipeg.

Levesque said it shows the city is moving in the right direction, but looking at the numbers for the first six months of 2014, he’s not certain the trend will continue next year.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty busy year.”

Police confirmed Tuesday, just a day before the 2013 crime statistics were released, that they had arrested three people in the city’s fifth homicide of 2014.

“We’ll have to see what happens this time next year when the numbers come out for 2014,” the chief said.

On Tuesday, after the news broke about the homicide in the Field Street area, Mayor Keith Hobbs said he believes police need to revisit how they operate, adding too many people are dedicated to specialized task forces and there aren’t enough officers on the front lines.

The chief said they have specialty units for a reason and with the types of crimes they deal with, having a couple of more officers on the street per shift is not going to stop the violence they’re seeing.

While 2013’s crime severity numbers are certainly an improvement for the city, Thunder Bay’s crime is still high when compared to other major municipalities in Canada.

The 80.6 crime severity gives Thunder Bay the eight highest crime severity number among the country’s 33 largest municipalities.  Canada’s average, which fell the same nine per cent that the city’s crime severity number did, is at 68.7.  Meanwhile Ontario’s crime severity, down 11 per cent from 2012, sits below even the national average at 52.5.

The crime picture gets uglier when you separate violent crimes from the non-violent. While Thunder Bay’s crime severity number for violent crime did drop 5.3 per cent, the 115.11 is the third worst in the country.

The answers to the crime issues aren’t just with the police, but other community agencies.

“We can’t arrest our way out of the situation we have with crime in the city,” said the chief.

“You just can’t keep arresting people and think it’s going to solve all our problems. These are social issues.”

The city’s crime prevention council is one of those components and Levesque said initiatives like the managed alcohol and SOS programs are essential as the police are moving toward 4,000 arrests for intoxication this year.

Crime prevention council acting coordinator Lee-Ann Chevrette said she’s happy to see the crime rate’s downward trend continue and while it’s consistent with national trends, she agrees there is still work to be done.

“The nature of crime is that it’s very complex. These are very complex issues and so it takes a really collaborative approach to address this complexity, so it’s the combined effort of city police, city of Thunder Bay crime prevention council and all of the organizations locally who are involved in addressing the root causes of crime – that’s poverty, homelessness, mental health issues and substance use,” said Chevrette.

The combined effort is making a difference, but it’s important the community continues to support initiatives already in place because those programs will have the greatest impact on crime reduction, added Chevrette.

 

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Tbnewswatch.com(17)

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Comments

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ring of fire dude says:
Forget building an Events Center , we need a bigger jail or prison if the Chief says they can't arrest their way out of this "situation" . "The answers to the crime issues aren’t just with the police, but other community agencies ." In other words , let the City taxpayer fund the programs , shelters and the Police budget for a problem that other communities are sending to our City . Too much political correctness by the Mayor , Council and the Police , nothing will change with that attitude .
7/23/2014 6:14:56 PM
Kam River says:
Talk a minute and look at the new rules for reporting a crime.
The Police do not take reports over the phone
The Police do not take reports in person.If you go to the front desk you are sent home to go online
Give you a warm feeling that someone cares about your B&E or vandalized car or home when you are filling the online report
Bet you do not report the crime
Which is what city council wants and this is a election year and they need the crime number to drop
7/23/2014 7:28:03 PM
smartguy83 says:
That has nothing to do with city council......Police services have control over their operations and the way they do business...hence why Hobbs called them out on how they "SHOULD" be doing it and they responded with how they "WILL" be doing it
7/24/2014 11:35:01 AM
ranma says:
So what they are saying, is that even though we are the #2 spot in Canada for violent crimes, the #1 spot in Canada for hate crimes, and currently the per capita murder capital of Canada (I believe), that things could be worse?

And almost 4000 arrests for intoxication this year? We are at day 204 of the year, so that means they average 20! arrests per day for intoxication. We obviously have a very serious drug and alcohol problem. It is time to stop hiding it and bring this elephant out.
7/23/2014 7:48:52 PM
smartguy83 says:
Many of these arrests are repeat arrests likely but I get the point...the city knows we have an issue. Question is do we let the police deal with it (higher police costs) or let organizations deal with it (higher community organization costs). Regardless I will be paying for it which sucks.

As for what they are saying...they are saying it IS worse not it COULD be worse. Not good...
7/24/2014 11:36:57 AM
Stephen says:
Well, that's an interesting take on the story. The CBC reports that we have the third most reported violent crime stats in the country, after Regina and Saskatoon.
“We can’t arrest our way out of the situation we have with crime in the city,” said the chief.

“You just can’t keep arresting people and think it’s going to solve all our problems. These are social issues.”
He's absolutely right.
7/23/2014 9:16:13 PM
timeforchange says:
yes fantastic. Crime is down.

Tell me where T.Bay ranks overall in Canada.

If our ranking continues to be poor as it has been for 30 years, then it means that crime is down across Canada. That is not a police success, that is a societal success.

If our ranking improved versus other cities across Ontario, then maybe we can start saying the cops are getting it right.

Every year it is the same dog and pony show that gets reported.

It reminds me of the old Wendy's commercial. Where's the beef.
7/23/2014 10:40:44 PM
smartguy83 says:
Read the article lol. Police are not happy with crime in the city at all. No one is.
7/24/2014 11:40:11 AM
blisterfoot says:
Reported crime may have gone down....because no one bothers reporting crimes anymore. There is no use reporting it, if the police aren't going to do anything about it, lol.
7/24/2014 3:42:28 AM
Dockboy says:
Well I'm sure everyone in the city is feeling a sense of relief after reading this article.
7/24/2014 8:26:14 AM
Cletus Van Damme says:
Great to hear this old town is becoming safe again! I will have to go for a leisurely stroll down Cumberland some day soon!
7/24/2014 9:49:28 AM
Rocky Racoon says:
"We can’t arrest our way out of the situation we have with crime in the city,you just can’t keep arresting people and think it’s going to solve all our problems."

Well, but it would make for a good start to cleaning up our streets! If they're not arresting everyone then this is likely why crime stats have dropped. As the saying goes, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.
7/24/2014 10:47:25 AM
spazz says:
the problem is that a great number of the people being arrested are repeat offenders. the same people are arrested daily. a large number of these are transients and arresting them only gives them a chance at some peace and quiet for a few hours then they are back on the street. I had a guy arrested for harrasing customers at 10am one day (he was already the worse for wear from listerine.. you could smell it like a cloud around him) and he was back and at it again by 7pm and I had to call again. the chief is right, you can not arrest your way out of that situation. that is a problem that can only be solved through social programs working hand in hand with law enforcement.

you have to work at fixing the problem where it begins. you can't just attack it at the final result. it's like spitting into the wind.
7/24/2014 1:32:02 PM
woggy says:
Why do all the good people have to suffer and deal with the bad ? I believe everyone deserves a 2nd chance , but NOT A 3RD, 4TH & 5 TH !
7/24/2014 11:43:07 AM
YellowSnow13 says:
Maybe there should be some mandatory work program for these repeat offenders. Oh I forgot, that would be against their rights. Well I guess we have some rights of our own to protect our own property. And I guess we have the right to leave a passed out person on the street and to ignore them. And we have the right to refuse to give them money because they are just going to blow it on another bottle. The city is not getting better, it's getting worse. Until the leaders of the various groups out there acknowledge the fact there are issues that need to be corrected, this will never change. If those leaders turn their backs to it and don't care, why should anybody else?
7/24/2014 2:04:06 PM
mercy mercy me says:
more spin on Chevrette's behalf to justiy her job, you need me, you really, really need me! abd as far as hobbs goes, he should pick his battles with more thought than he picks his nose
7/24/2014 2:21:43 PM
timeforchange says:
The newspaper had an interesting article today. Crime is down all across the country. BUT the reduction in crime in the country was greater than the reduction in crime in T.Bay.

As I said earlier this police service is not impacting crime in any meaningful way. It is benefiting because crime is down generally.

But that won't stop them from spending more than their budget and probably won't stop them from asking for another big raise come contract time. And the people in charge will just agree to everything and nothing will change.
7/24/2014 10:45:17 PM
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