Just say the words and watch the contortions on the faces of the politically correct champions of Justice.
Like it or not, race is a big issue in the Province of Manitoba, even more so after the release of that highlights a forty (40%) percent increase in the incarcerated Aboriginal offender population between 2001 & 2010.
Alarming statistics show Aboriginal people’s make up just four (4%) percent of the Canadian population yet account for a staggering twenty-three (23%) of the federal prison population. That means almost one (1) in every four (4) Federal inmates come from Aboriginal origins.
Sapers also reports Aboriginal inmates are sentenced to longer terms, spend more time in segregation and maximum security, are less likely to be granted parole and are more likely to have their parole revoked for minor infractions.
If you didn’t know it, the City of Winnipeg happens to be home to one of the largest urban Aboriginal populations in the Country.
There can be no doubt that Aboriginal offenders significantly contribute to Winnipeg’s designation of murder, robbery and violent crime capital of Canada. A quick glance at the 2012 murder statistics tells us that Aboriginal offenders played a predominant role in last years killings. Aboriginal victims continue to be over-represented in both the solved and unsolved murder categories.
The Winnipeg Police Service simply cannot afford to ignore these numbers.
Sapers statistics show there were 766 black inmates in the Federal prison system in 2000-2001. That number increased to 1,294 by 2010-2011. Black citizens make up only 2.5% of the Canadian population yet represent over 9% of the Federal inmate population. The majority of these individuals are incarcerated in Ontario (60%) and Quebec (18%) but it would be foolish to think that Manitoba is immune to this phenomena.
The Philosopher Chief, Devon Clunis, recently delivered a keynote address where he shared his vision for a new approach to crime fighting in Winnipeg. “We’re not going to arrest these issues away,” he said.
He then shared his vision of a Police Service more focused on prevention and community involvement, “Crime prevention thru social development.”
Clunis acknowledged social issues are not burdens that can be “fully owned” by the Police Service but did indicate his willingness to address the factors that drive crime by taking the initiative to be “catalysts for change.”
The question I would ask is how does the Police Service address the factors that drive crime unless they’re prepared to do the work that identifies what those factors are?
Time for some racial profiling.
Causation, or the factors that drive crime are not always easy to identify. My experience in Policing tells me that substance abuse, (alcohol & drugs) organized crime and street gangs are primary causation factors. Experience happens to be an extremely undervalued commodity and doesn’t often drive change or influence policy.
That’s unfortunate because the people with all the experience are the front line police officers who fight the war against crime every day. The ones who attend the horrific crime scenes and deal with the aftermath of the blunt force trauma, stab wounds and bullet holes. The ones who put the handcuffs on the gang bangers, habitual offenders and sex trade workers. The ones who sit in the interview rooms and interrogate the offenders. The ones who see the carnage left behind by people with raging crack or alcohol addictions.
The police officers are the ones who see it, know it and live it. Ask any WPS officer what factors drive crime and be prepared to listen. They’ll fill your ears. Problem is, they don’t have a voice. Hard data and statistics are the only things that move people in positions of authority to act or effect change.
Time for some racial profiling.
If Chief Clunis wants to be a catalyst for change then he needs to get to work. He needs to start gathering the facts that can help us diagnose and treat the sickening crime problem that’s plaguing our City.
Information relating to gang involvement, race, sex, age, community, employment status, use of drugs or alcohol and type of substance used are all relevant factors that could help identify issues that drive crime.
This type of data could be critically important to:
- Provide hard data to identify criminal demographics and enable Law Enforcement to be catalysts for change in over represented groups
- Provide hard data to confirm addiction is the primary driver of crime and to underpin the argument to substantially increase funding for addiction treatment
- Provide hard data to identify trends in substance abuse, prompt law enforcement initiatives, addiction intervention and education, influence social programs
- Provide hard data regarding gang involvement and trends, gather critical intelligence to aid law enforcement for gang intervention and prevention, to assist prosecutions and support Government initiatives like Safer Communities
- Provide hard data to demonstrate the need for intensive anti poverty and employment strategies
If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’m not really taking about racial profiling. I’m talking enhancing crime analysis functions the Police Service are already performing.
I know defenders against the “Police State” will be up in arms regarding the suggestion to collect this type of data. The fact is, the results of Mr Sapers report simply can’t be ignored any longer. The problem is, the report only addresses post offense issues.
“Crime Prevention through social development,” requires an innovative proactive approach.
If Chief Clunis wants the Police to be “catalysts for change,” then its time to start collecting the hard data that will truly motivate Government and force over represented groups to start taking ownership of the inconvenient statistical truth.
Maybe the time has come for a little crime prevention through “reality based tactical crime analysis.”