Demographic profiling is not an acceptable prevention strategy

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THUNDER BAY – Keith Hobbs comes out of the gate quickly with the announcement that he will be pushing for a curfew for kids out past midnight. I am more than a little disappointed to hear this.

He argues that youth who are out will either be victims or accused. I would add “except those who aren’t”. Much like adults who are out at night will either be victims, or accused, or not. The Chronicle quotes him as saying that there is “no viable excuse, reasonable excuse” for youth to be on the streets at night. What viable excuse does an adult have to be out? What excuse more than “I want to be” should be necessary.

Thunder Bay has a crime problem, some of this crime is caused by youth. Restricting the movements of an entire demographic is a blunt tool to tackle this issue, like driving a nail with a bulldozer. It may be effective, but at what cost?

My formative years involved a lot of roaming the streets at all hours with my friends, talking, dreaming, and creating visions of the world we wanted to see happen. When the city sleeps there is an inspirational air, especially for kids.

At best, this will be a tool for police to shoo kids home who they see to be a problem. If someone is performing an illegal act, then let the police respond. If someone may potentially perform an illegal act, then we must as a society give them the benefit of the doubt. Demographic profiling is not an acceptable prevention strategy.

I strongly urge Mr. Hobbs to reconsider this strategy. I also encourage the rest of council to educate themselves on this issue before it comes to debate. Remember that many of those who are affected by this will be of voting age by the next municipal election, and this sort of insult will not be easily forgotten.

Jay Stapleton


Jay Stapleton ran for Thunder Bay City Council in the 2010 Civic election as a candidate in the Red River Ward. The opinions expressed in all of our editorials are those of the authors.

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