Iain Angus on Crime in Thunder Bay

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THUNDER BAY – Iain Angus is a Councillor at Large for the City of Thunder Bay.

Here are Angus’ answers on the issue of crime in Thunder Bay:

Question: Thunder Bay has formed a Crime Prevention Council, how long will it take before that Council meets, and how long afterward to implement its recommendations?

Answer: The first CP Council will be appointed in December by the new City Council. It, along with the newly hired co-ordinator will quickly confirm their terms of reference as well as determining if there are any gaps in their membership.  They will then get to work researching the causes of crime and bringing forth recommendations for action. While the CP Council is doing their research and preparing their recommendations, other organizations will continue with their work. For example, I will be bringing forward a recommendation to the new Council that we create a Youth Services Board to work with a variety of organizations to ensure that existing youth outreach and youth centre programs are properly supported, and that new services are identified and funded, while at the same time ensuring accountability for any tax payer funding provided to them.

The ad-hoc committee consisting of St Joseph’s Care Group, Thunder Bay Police Services, Thunder Bay District Social Service Administration Board, Shelter House and the City of Thunder Bay will continue to work towards identifying the real solutions to getting addicted individuals off of the street and into safe shelter rather than diverting police, EMS and emergency room services to looking after the inebriated. The District Health Unit sponsored Drug Strategy will continue to pursue its plans.  All of the above actions show that this City is aware of its problems and is looking for solutions that actually work.

Question: Over the past year, some on Council along with the Police Services Board have suggested the crime rates are not as bad as they looked.

What is your reaction to Thunder Bay being listed 23rd most dangerous city?

Answer: find it ironic that the City of Toronto, which seems to have multiple murders every weekend is listed 57th while we are 23rd.  In fact a review of the 2005 to 2009 stats in the Thunder Bay Polices Services Annual Report (http://www.thunderbay.ca/Assets/Police/docs/2009+Annual+Report.pdf) shows that in most years there are more deaths through automobile accidents than there are murders of any kind here in Thunder Bay. And we know that in terms of this year’s murders, all of the participants knew each other and that all of them were close quarter incidents that did not expose anyone else to the violence.  A further review of the stats, which is something that all elected officials need to do in order to determine what is fact and what is ‘gut feeling’ does show that in some areas there has been a decline over the 5 years (crimes of violence, break and enter, motor vehicle theft, fraud, arson) while others have increased (theft under $5,000 including theft from motor vehicles, shoplifting and mischief) – the latter grouping having a clear relation to poverty and idleness.  A significant area of increase is in liquor offences which have jumped by 20% since 2005. This is the group that is costing taxpayers $1,000,000 a year for policing, plus EMS and emergency room visits that can be put to better use.

Question: The CEDC and Thunder Bay Tourism are working very hard to build our brand as a great place to work, visit and live.

Do you feel that Macleans Magazine’s article can harm those efforts?

Answer: The article will have the same effect on tourism and economic development as has Macleans rankings of Lakehead University.  There are still more students applying to LU than are admitted each year. Tourists are looking for the experiences that Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario can provide them.  USA tourists are not likely to be reading Macleans.  Investors are looking at the overall quality of life, the cost of doing business here and the relationship between Thunder Bay and where they need to sell their wares.  We win on all of those elements.

For more information you can contact Iain Angus at www.iainangus.ca