Thursday, October 15, 2009

Public isn't stupid about crime and violence problems

Letter to the Editor:

People know crime‘s reality
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Well over a year ago, this newspaper (The Chronicle-Journal) published a letter I wrote about escalating crime, particularly in Westfort. I called upon the Chief of Police to disclose crime statistics through the media on a regular basis.

Years ago, police released weekly and/or monthly crime stats published in The Chronicle-Journal and other media. No one can explain to me why this suddenly stopped. No one, except for one city councillor, contacted me concerning my letter and my suggestions to improve public safety and policing, including getting back to the “beat” style of policing in neighbourhoods and business districts throughout the city.

When I think of the police the name that quickly comes to mind is spokesman Chris Adams. Chief Herman rarely addresses the public directly about our safety concerns and the high incidence of violence and crime. A very small percentage of the crime and violent incidents are actually reported in the media.

We all have the right to know about what‘s really going on in our neighbourhoods, yet the chief and the Police Services Board continue to keep us in the dark. They must think that the public is collectively stupid and unaware of what‘s really going on in our neighbourhoods. We talk to officers. We talk to our neighbours. We talk to business owners. We talk to emergency services staff. We know a lot more than they think we do, so they should stop treating us like we‘re imbeciles.

In my opinion, it‘s time for Chief Herman and the Police Services Board to resign. We need strong leadership in this community, people who are committed to increasing public safety and allocating police resources when and where they are needed, leaders with the necessary fortitude and vision to empower this community.

Kathy McGowan
Thunder Bay