Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jan 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Natalia Kuzmyn


Re: "Solving the city's policing problems," Jan. 8. Do we really need 
an expensive independent review of current police staffing problems? 
How about something far more reasonable, affording more allocations 
to actually address the concerns?

The editorial states that about 90 per cent of crimes are 
drug-related, "petty but costly ones committed by addicts," and that 
"the effective way to deal with them is to attack addictions, rather 
than simply deal with the same crimes over and over."

But if the city ever did something effective about addictions, we 
wouldn't need an increased police force. In fact, the city could 
forgo the additional $3.9 million requested, and reduce existing 
costs, by first allocating the portion wasted on policing and putting 
that 90 per cent toward permanent housing, treatment and education 
for the target group primarily responsible for the crime.

Which can we presume will be considered more important to 
politicians? The appearance of addressing policing problems or 
enacting real solutions for a far less respectable group? My guess is 
the police will get what they ask at a much higher cost to society 
than mere taxes.

Dismantling an existing flawed system takes more guts and 
perseverance than most politicians can muster. We no longer expect 
such leadership, but is the mandate of responsible bookkeeping to be 
trumped by the appearance of urban control?

Natalia Kuzmyn

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