Thursday, November 21, 2019

Maclean's notes on crime offer Prince Rupert City Council some themes to discuss with local RCMP

The release this week of the annual Maclean's review of crime and Prince Rupert's rather elevated placement of communities across the country, should offer some avenues for conversation when Council members host members of the detachment at City Hall later this month.

As we outlined yesterday, the national news magazine's overview of crime provided a snapshot of what the members of the Prince Rupert detachment are facing on a day to day basis.

With the city ranking high in areas of assault, sexual assault and robbery among the eleven categories that data was collected on.

The overall ranking placed Prince Rupert in 11th Spot on the Violent Crime Index, three places below Terrace which also was noted for its standing when it comes to violent crimes reported.

Things were a little less glaring on the overall Crime Severity Index, where Prince Rupert was placed in 20th spot, though that is framed by the fact that the placement places the city in the top 20 for Crime Severity out of the 237 cities surveyed.

So, with the long awaited opportunity for Council members to ask questions of the RCMP coming up, the city's elected officials will have much to inquire about, if they choose to do so.

From hearing first hand as to some of the societal factors that provide for such startling numbers and to ask what resources the City may be able to provide to the RCMP to help bring the numbers down and to address what should be some concerns for what's happening in the community.

The upcoming presentation comes after a number of requests from Councillors Barry Cunningham and Nick Adey  to have members come to Council to provide some background on the work of the members.

The opportunity for such discussions has not been frequent, with the RCMP only providing for such updates on a fairly sporadic timeline, sometimes going more than a year before appearances.

It's not really clear why Council has allowed that much time to go by between opportunities to hear from the city's police force.

That's not the blueprint found in some of the other communities of the Northwest, where city council's host detachment officials a number of times a year as part of their regular City Council sessions, using that opportunity to raise concerns or relay questions that they have heard from the community.

If the last four years are any indication however, crime in the city doesn't appear to be much of a theme for the current council line up, with council members rarely making note of the topic during the course of the regular public meetings through the year.

City Council has not updated the public
on the process ahead for a new RCMP
detachment for awhile now
Of course, if City Council members are asking questions of the RCMP, they too may have a few inquiries to make of the elected officials, among them, the status of a new detachment for the city's police force.

That quest for a new building, has been a can kicked down the road for close to a decade now, and the further that can rolls, the less we seem to hear about the plan from City Council.

The last time that the topic gained a significant review cane as part of the discussion over the need for the now completed renovations of the city's jail last year.

At that time the budget of that year suggested that a timeline towards a new building might deliver by 2023, but since last year there has been little heard on the replacement plans.

You can review some the meandering path when it comes to a new building from our notes of last year, which includes an archive of the long running story.

Council may also want to take a page out of how the information flow works in Terrace, where the detachment regularly posts a service call list of sorts to the detachment website, a review that provides the public with a glimpse into the varying challenges that their members face over the course of their time on duty.

If Prince Rupert did the same, then perhaps the annual listings from Maclean's wouldn't come as quite as much of a shock, leaving residents to read in a national magazine that they live in a town with some serous issues to sort out.

With much to talk about it would seem, residents of the city probably are hoping that their council members come to the meeting in a talkative mood, bringing with them lots of questions for the detachment officials, as well as outline a plan to provide for more frequent public get togethers with detachment members in the future.

The final City council session for November takes place this coming Monday.

For a look at some of the work of Emergency responders across the Northwest see our archive page here.

A wider overview of City Council themes can be found on our Council Discussion archive.

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