Thunder Bay Police need help from Allies

Supplied image of apparent assault in downtown South Core
Thunder Bay Police
Thunder Bay Police responded to an alleged assault on Victoria Ave East (Supplied image)

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay Police officers face crime on a daily, hourly basis. Officers are put on the front lines of keeping our community safer. The Thunder Bay Police Service responds to calls for service from citizens in need of help.

Sometimes however it can seem that officers don’t get all the help that they need. The top calls that Thunder Bay Police Service respond to on a daily basis are alcohol or drug related calls. Over the past twenty-four hours, out of forty-four calls that officers responded to twenty-three of those calls were for ‘Quality of Life’ calls. Eleven of those were disturbances, and eleven were alcohol related. 

Alcohol Fuelled Violence Hurts Thunder Bay

On a daily basis, over half of the calls that officers respond to are drug or alcohol related. There should be allies for Thunder Bay Police who are helping. They should have strong allies in the Alcohol Gaming Commission of Ontario where liquor inspectors step up to enforce the rules and legislation.

Often when talking to front line police officers, it seems they are as frustrated as local residents and business owners are. Police are doing the best they can, but need allies to step up too. In Northwestern Ontario, there have been very few, incidents where the Alcohol and Gaming Commission are  acting in a firm handed manner to deal with issues. 

Across Ontario, there have been suspensions of licences, revocation of licences, and firm penalties for violations of liquor laws. Everyone loves a fun night out, and the Ontario Government has put in place rules and regulations to make it safer for everyone. The AGCO is tasked with enforcement.

Vomit on the streets
Vomit on the streets is a sign of over serving? June 1 2013

In 2012, across all of Northwestern Ontario, and in the city of Thunder Bay, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission did not report on a single business in Northwestern Ontario, or in Thunder Bay having any violations that resulted in action.

Based on the number of complaints, that simply does not appear to make sense. Often alcohol fuelled fights are all too common. 

Supplied image of apparent assault in downtown South Core


In the image supplied, this fight happened when two patrons of a licenced establishment came to blows outside the establishment. Police responded in a very fast manner, but unless the AGCO follows up and investigates, the efforts of police to make our streets safer is made ever harder.

In the downtown south core, there are business owners who head off home at the end of their work day in fear of what might happen to their businesses over night. Far too often, those business owners arrive back at their shops in the morning to find broken windows, urine, vomit, and broken beer bottles in their doorsteps and other evidence that not all was well overnight.

In the second quarter of 2011, the AGCO put in place suspensions of licences for two local establishments.

In 2010 there were two instances of licence suspension action by the AGCO.

That total means that either all of the bars and licenced establishments in our city are doing amazingly well, or the level of inspection is not up to par. Based on what appears to be a lack of solid enforcement, people can likely draw their own conclusions. 

James Murray

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