Thunder Bay – OPINION – This might sound really strange, but police are longing for a return to the “good old days”.
Back in the day, Thunder Bay was a city where weapons crime was primarily committed with knives.
Today, guns are increasingly the tool of choice for criminals.
There is an old saying about not bringing a knife to a gun fight. Back when police responded to weapons calls, they could be one up on the criminals.
Today, with growing gun violence in the city, police are being matched by gangsters.
Five or more years ago, from Thunder Bay we could read news pieces on the rampant gun crime in Toronto and in some cases have a certain smugness over how it was safer here.
That safety has ended. It is likely a part of the reason many police officers are increasingly concerned about their safety on the job.
From 2010 to 2020 Statistics Canada reports there were 74 homicides in Thunder Bay. The numbers range from a low of 3 murders in 2015 to a high of 11 in 2014. Over the past five years there have been 38 homicides.
There have been five homicides in the city so far this year.
At the root cause of the murders, simply put is the growing number of drug gang deaths.
The arrival of drug gangs from Toronto and Ottawa in our city has generated increased strife, increased crime, and put serious pressure on police.
The number of homicides has often put Thunder Bay atop the list as Canada’s “Murder Capital”.
It is a reason that many people in Thunder Bay are so deeply concerned about crime.
It has also created a massive “blame game” within the city.
There are those who seem to feel the blame belongs right on the desk of Thunder Bay Police Chief Sylvie Hauth. Others feel it is the Thunder Bay Police Services Board. Some feel it is the fault of the Mayor and City Council. There are even some feeling that it is the fault of media reporting of crime.
The Goal Must Be Solutions
The truth is it really doesn’t matter who you blame, the blame game, or shame game as some on social media are engaging, the real goal must be solutions.
The root cause of much of our city’s crime issue is addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction having in many cases its roots in the residential school era, issues with child welfare, and a lack of facilities to make real changes.
There is a massive shortage of addiction treatment facilities in Thunder Bay. One of the biggest issues is a lack of detox beds in the city. On average there are reportedly eight people per day turned away from detox.
Think of it this way, almost 3,000 people a year who want to quit drugs or alcohol can’t do it without help.
Take 3,000 customers away from drug dealers a year and their market shrinks to a smaller and smaller size.
Those Ottawa and Toronto drug dealing gangsters are in the city for one reason. They can make huge profits here. The market is growing, and there is nothing being done on a substantive level to reduce the size of that market.
There are ongoing efforts toward changing the paradigm in our city. Discussions have been ongoing between the city and province about increased treatment facilities in the city.
Once those discussions become bricks and mortar buildings with treatment and detox beds, it is likely we might see a change to the current status quo.
What else can you do?
You can submit tips anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online at www.p3tips.com.
Learn to recognize the signs of a drug trap house:
Signs of illegal activity
If a property is being used for an illegal activity you may notice some common signs.
Seeing one of these signs doesn’t always mean illegal activity is going on, but if they happen often or together, a problem may exist.
Some common signs of illegal activity include:
- frequent visitors at all times of the day and night
- frequent late night activity
- extensive home security
- residents that are rarely seen, distant or secretive
- windows blackened or curtains always drawn
- neglected property and yard
- people repeatedly visiting the property who only go to the door for a short time
- residents who regularly meet vehicles near the property for a short time
- strange odours coming from the house or garbage
- garbage that contains numerous bottles and containers, particularly chemical containers
- putting garbage in a neighbour’s collection area