THUNDER BAY – Police were kept busy last night. After a quiet past few days, it seems people were stocking up for Saturday night. Police were busy with twelve weapons offences, 113 quality of life calls for service, including 76 liquor offences. There were numerous assaults, including five sexual assaults.
When calls for service for alcohol go up, the other calls for service spike as well.
One of the issues for police, and one that makes it very frustrating, according to front line police officers is the fact that often the people they are dealing with, especially for liquor offences are the same people over and over again. Writing up a ticket for a Section 31 of the Liquor Act, and giving an intoxicated person a ticket, in the case of the image shown, that is a $125 ticket is all that most officers can do.
The detox centre can not handle the volume needed. Shelter House on George Street is full most nights.
The reality is if we want Thunder Bay to be safer, we are going to have to deal with the problems of alcohol and drug abuse.
Writing tickets isn’t going to solve the problem. However that tool is the only one politicians are providing officers with to fight the problem.
Part of the solution is also in the hands of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission in Ontario. Stricter enforcement for licenced establishments, checking late at night in licenced establishments, moving to enforce the legislation would be a real help.
While there are many establishments facing suspensions of licences in most of Ontario, in the North where issues with alcohol are a major issue, the reporting does not show any suspensions of licences in the entire region.
Part of the problem as well lies in what many call a ‘Thunder Bay attitude’. How many times have you heard someone telling you they are “Going to get drunk tonight”?
Party ’til you puke? How unacceptable.
That is not a goal, or destination that should be accepted in our region any more.
In conversation this week with several Aboriginal ladies, the commentary was that their men need to actually learn what it means to be a ‘Warrior’. It is not trying to out drink others, it is providing for their family and taking responsibility for those they care for, or say they care for. The same holds true for many mothers who drink to excess.
The solution is going to be found when political leaders step up and start working toward real solutions.
It is going to take leadership from all of us in Thunder Bay to make a difference in our city.
If those in elected positions are unwilling to deal with the issues, then perhaps it is time for change. Our politicians need to stop putting up with the growing crime rates, the perception that so many people have that our streets are unsafe at night, and that ‘something should be done’.
The time for action is now.
One wonders which elected official will have the real courage to make a difference.