Crime Concerns Top Dropping Crime Statistics

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Constable John Walmark keeping a careful eye to safety to ensure the walkers are safe.
Constable John Walmark keeping a careful eye to safety to ensure the walkers are safe.
Thunder Bay Police-Services-Board
Police Services Board – Photo by City of Thunder Bay

Online Engagement and Reporting Helps Police

THUNDER BAY – Editorial – Thunder Bay Police state, and prove with their crime statistics that crime rates in Thunder Bay are falling. That is true, the figures on the crimes reported to Thunder Bay Police are dropping. Thunder Bay Police are, however not likely to seek to reduce the size of the service, or start trimming the budget. 

[sws_pullquote_right]Although there will always be room for improvement in areas such as crime prevention and community safety, I am very pleased that our clearance rate continues to be above the national average – Chief JP Lesveque [/sws_pullquote_right] Many people believe crime is increasing. Thunder Bay Police state that “It may not appear that crime is down because of the increase of social media and the ability to get information from various sources in a quicker manner that previous. The stats are the reality of the reported incidents in Thunder Bay. The 2012 annual report is on our website, take a read if it interests you”.

One of the issues likely facing Thunder Bay Police is that through online crime reporting, residents are starting to find out more of what is happening in Thunder Bay. That is not painting the picture that many are used to hearing before there were more social media and online media sources going past the usual reports. 

The fact is there is no real change, for years, people across our city have shared and talked with each other about crime. The Thunder Bay Police, now have daily crime incident, crime mapping, and a presence on Facebook. The service now has a number of online means that have been implemented under the Chief of Police’s direction. Those tools are helping the Thunder Bay Police in engaging with the community.

There is room for improvement

Chief of Police JP Lesveque
Chief of Police JP Lesveque

There are many incidents that happen, assaults that result in injury where Police do not directly report the incidents to the public, but through social media thousands of residents are talking about the issue of crime.

Chief of Police JP Lesveque states, “Although there will always be room for improvement in areas such as crime prevention and community safety, I am very pleased that our clearance rate continues to be above the national average and we in fact saw a improvement from 2011 to 2012. I feel that this is a reflection of the hard work being done by the men and women of our service”. 

“I am also pleased to see a decrease in both violent crime and property crime for 2012. I hope to see this trend continue as we introduce new initiatives such as Zone Watch which will augment our new Zone Policing deployment model,” adds the Chief.

A look under the hood for crime in Thunder Bay

Crime Reports offer a full look ‘behind the scenes’ as to what is happening in our city. 

If you simply look at the map, after moving past the default settings, you start to gather that while crime is certainly down, crime is still impacting our community. 

North Side Crime Map – September 2013

This is the Crime Reports incident map for Thunder Bay North for September.
This is the Crime Reports incident map for Thunder Bay North for September.

South Side Crime Map – September 2013

This is September 2013 crime incidents for the South Side of Thunder Bay.
This is September 2013 crime incidents for the South Side of Thunder Bay.

In moving forward, there are milestones showing up where Chief Lesveque is making apparent quiet progress. 

At the Full Moon Memory Walk, Chief Lesveque spoke well and shared a positive message. The Chief didn’t join the walk this year, maybe next year he will. It would add to the words with those steps. 

Often in Thunder Bay, unlike Toronto, Calgary and other cities, the Chief of Police in our community is not often seen as the face of the service. Chief Lesveque, in my opinion, is seen by many as working hard to make a positive difference in our city.

That could be greatly enhanced if the Chief took a larger front line role and became the media spokesperson in a greater role. It would present the citizens with a greater means of engagement with the police. It would also help encourage increased community involvement and engagement.

With the Aboriginal community in our city, there remains a divide between police and the community. Chief Lesveque appears fully willing to work on that relationship, and it is a major step in the right direction.

A safer Thunder Bay is everyone’s goal. 

Getting there will take everyone working together.

James Murray

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