THUNDER BAY – A quick look at the crime map which shows the statistics over the past week offers an insight into what is happening in our city. Thunder Bay Police, and Superior EMS along with Thunder Bay Fire Rescue are busy responding to a lot of incidents.
It used to be a ‘Two Drink Minimum” for some bars, those days are gone. Now for Police it is a “Three Calls Per Hour Minimum”.
Over the past week, there were over 500 calls for service that made it to the dispatch and then required officers responding. Police are called out an average of three times per hour.
Depending on the nature of the call, police officers can easily end up stacked up. Especially when you consider that many of the calls come in bunched up in the late-night and early morning hours.
The majority of calls are for two different classes of incidents. First commonly are traffic related calls. Second are Quality of Life calls that relate to drug, alcohol, and related disturbances.
Weekend nights can generate a solid run of calls that are related to the overuse or abuse of alcohol and drugs.
Drilling down into the numbers, and realizing that Police Officers, and Paramedics are not social workers, the number of times our first responders in Thunder Bay are being put in that role becomes stark.
Some of the violence on the city’s streets is generating increased demands on facilities which are not fully equipped to handle the problem. Hurt or injured people arriving at Shelter House for example are adding pressure to the facility’s resources.
Shelter House is a trusted place for any in the south side of Thunder Bay. People who are hurt or injured often make their way there for help. Shelter House doesn’t have the staff or training to be a medical facility.
Often very intoxicated patients are being transported to Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and those facilities are not designed as a de-tox centre and have difficulty handling those patients.
Looking at the number of incidents in the city that are alcohol related, perhaps it is time that the City of Thunder Bay start looking at the cost to taxpayers, and start seeking some solutions.
Perhaps an analysis of the impact and cost of policing for businesses selling or serving alcohol should be done. Thunder Bay could then examine the costs to the city based on the crime map, the incidents that can be tracked back to licenced establishments and implement changes to the licencing fees for those businesses.
It could serve as a means of covering the costs related to the tax dollars that are expended to deal with the problems around the areas with problems.
The cost of business licences for licenced establishments would fall outside of the liquor licences that the provincial government issues.
Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs is looking for help. The Mayor has reached out to Nishnawbe-Aski Nation, but Grand Chief Harvey Yesno has not joined in. The Mayor and the Grand Chief have yet to connect on this issue.
The Mayor is looking for allies in efforts to make Thunder Bay a safer place for everyone here. So far his efforts have remained unsuccessful.
For Thunder Bay and for the besieged police service, it is time for all who are concerned to rally forward and start making a difference.