Chief of Police has the ball in his court

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THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay’s new Chief of Police J P Lesveque is on the record stating that there are changes coming to how the Thunder Bay Police Service does things. That is one of the tasks that a new leader has to do in order to start putting things into place to run them.

There are many ideas out there which could be implemented toward making Thunder Bay a safer community, and to free up police officers to be more able to do the most important tasks needed.

Take the issue of many of the crimes that are not of a “serious nature”. In the City of Calgary when the police were facing serious increases in population, the Police Service implemented online reporting. (www.calgarypolice.ca/onlinereporting.html

Thunder Bay Police Service
Police Officers at City Hall - photo by Derek Silver
).

This is not for serious crimes. The Calgary Police Service state, “This system allows you to submit and print a police report if one of the following has happened to you within the City of Calgary and you do not know who did it:

You have lost or have had stolen something that is worth less than $5,000 (not including firearms, licence plates or government-issued funds or identification).
(Lost Property or Theft under $5,000)
Your property or vehicle has been vandalized.
(Damage/Mischief to Property or Vehicle under $5,000)
Your vehicle has been broken into.
(Theft from Vehicle under $5,000)

The Calgary Police encourage people to report all incidents of crime, as it allows them to better track trends.

Another valuable communications tool in Calgary is the Police & Community Awareness Program.

“PCAP is a proven, effective crime prevention tool employed by the Calgary Police Service to alert residents in Calgary and surrounding rural areas to important situations such as criminal acts occurring in their area or requests for public assistance in cases such as missing children. Furthermore, it provided its messages to a person answering the call or to a standard answering machine”.

Online residents register for this program. Then when something happens in your immediate area, the Calgary Police Service can keep you informed. When I lived in Calgary ten years ago, this was a great help. It was not something that had your telephone ringing off the hook, but when something important happened the police had a tool to share information directly with the residents in the immediate area.

Another way that the Thunder Bay Police Service could help would be in implementing a better Internet presence. In our community, there are over 72,000 people on Facebook. That likely includes some duplicates but it is a massive figure. The Thunder Bay Police Service should have a Facebook presence.

Additionally, the online presence should include far more information for the public on crime prevention.

Looking west to Calgary again, there is an excellent section on the Calgary Police Service website on how to be a “Good Witness”. In New Westminister, British Columbia, there is another example of a Police Service that is using the Internet in a positive and pro-active way. (www.nwpolice.org).

New Westminister has also implemented a “Crime Free Multi-Housing Program” that lists properties that have earned the designation. Perhaps in Thunder Bay where growing numbers of residents are seeking to get more involved in making our community a safer and better place, this could be a program that our service could implement?

The Block Parent and Block Watch programs are two other programs that could be re-introduced in our community.

The Regional Multicultural Youth Centre has hosted two community barbecues in our city in the past weeks. At those events, the young people have engaged with the people and had them complete surveys on how to make their communities safer. At yesterday’s Windsor/Blucher/Picton area event, it is very apparent that families are looking for a safer community.

I listened to two young teens who explained that one of the real problems in their neighbourhood are that gangs of teens are attacking and beating up other young people. Those two young men are looking to make a difference in their neighbourhood, and help. Those kinds of efforts must be supported and encouraged. That is how we build real community engagement.

Our new Chief of Police has the opportunity right here, and right now to make his mark on our city and to engage with citizens to make that happen.

Editorially, NetNewsledger.com will support all efforts by our new Chief of Police to make a difference. We will also support the efforts of residents and groups, who are interested in getting going on the ground.

Thunder Bay is an amazing community, and it is only going to get better. It will however take efforts from all of us to do that.

James Murray
News Director

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