Saturday 19 November 2011

Winnipeg Police Service Strategic Plan

Edit: oops .. I forgot to give the post a title! How embarrassing! Oh well ... fixed.

A few days ago Brian Kelcey wrote an op-ed in the Free Press admonishing Chief McCaskill for his failure to produce a crime reduction strategy, and our politicians for failing to motivate the Chief of Police to do so. Now today, we finally have a plan! Apparently the planning started over two years ago. The delay was probably a result of a low toner cartridge in the printer or something.

The document starts off with a message from the Chief that includes this:

"we must not allow ourselves to get comfortable with our past successes."
Comfortable? COMFORTABLE??? We've had 35 murders and countless arsons in less than 11 months ... who the hell is getting comfortable?!? Oh and by the way: buying a helicopter is only a "success" in the sense that you have successfully spent money. Success is in results, not actions.

You might think that if a plan is serious about dealing with violent crimes, they would provide some analysis of the violent crime problem. You know: you have to recognize that you have a problem before you can fix the problem. Later on they do claim that violent crime is going down, however all we are given in this document are three bar charts for broad categories of crime that are generally flattering to the police force. There is an effort here to make it appear as though everything is proceeding very nicely, and that by even putting forth a plan they are going above and beyond what is necessary.

Edmonton, our competition for Crime Capital, doesn't gloss this over:
New challenges have emerged including a marked increase in the severity of violence that we must address.
.. and they provide 9 "immediate initiatives" to deal with the violent crime problem, and remember, their Chief has been in office for less than half a year. How does our approach compare?

Jumping to the Violent Crime Reduction Strategy on page 20 ... we are given three goals:
• Reduce incidents of sexual assaults by 3% by 2014.
• Reduce incidents of assaults by 9% by 2014.
• Reduce incidents of strong-arm robberies by 3% by 2014.

Reduce murders in the murder capital of Canada? Not a goal. Murders are too unpredictable.

The strategy:
"Adopt a philosophy of law enforcement in Winnipeg to be proactive and fluid in the approach to policing higher crime areas and the rest of the City."
Is that all? What about "thinking outside the box" and "drilling down to the root causes"? Even "leveraging synergies in the pursuit of efficiencies in law enforcement" might be a good way to go. Geeze, do I have to do everything for them?

Thankfully the proposed actions are marginally more specific:
A. Establish and Enhance New Permanent Beat Foot Patrols
B. Implement Project-based Initiatives.

C. Create High-value Target Suppression Database

D. Develop Crime Prevention Partnership Program .. notably the MLCC

E. Did we mention Beat Patrols?

There are other little things here and there, like "give apartment owners and managers the power to evict or deny residency to those residents who partake in criminal or nuisance activities" and "Recruit and train Crime Analysts", but overall I am somewhat underwhelmed. It would have been nice to see more details and creativity ... but at least we have targets, like reduce assaults by 9% in 3 years. The real target that everybody else will be keeping an eye on, however, is that pesky murder rate.

The Police can't do everything however: What we really need is greater differentiation in sentencing. A focus on rehabilitation for new offenders but progressively harsher punishment for repeat offenders. For that we need reformed legislation at the Federal level, and a reformed attitude at the Provincial level.

An aside:
The report provides an interesting summary of our urban sprawl:
"Since the 2006 Census, Winnipeg has developed, and is in the process of developing a number of new neighbourhoods. Notable new neighbourhoods include: Amber Trails, Canterbury Park, Richmond West, Royalwood, Sage Creek, Transcona West and Waverley West. Together, these neighbourhoods add 3205 hectares (7919 acres) of newly inhabited land in Winnipeg. The new developments represent an increase of 6.74% of patrollable land within Winnipeg’s boundaries."
Winnipeg's population increased by less than 5% during that same time frame, therefore population density has decreased as well over that time. Just FYI...

Related: The Crime Scene .


The Traveler said...

I took the time to read the Edmonton report in it's whole and found it to be great at the same thing we are saying . We will work towards lowering crime but neither them or us are really looking at the root problem, no punishment to fit the crime.As long as kids can and do get away with the crime you can patrol the streets 24-7 and all you will do is book and capture the same punks 24-7.
Till the real issue is addressed that being putting the fear of the law back into the law nothing will change , first offence you get a break after that you do the time while you are there strict measures have to be met before you get out. People whine about costs to do this while I say look at what all those social service agencies are costing us now , and what success ratio can they brag of. The kids of poverty have no fear of the law and are laughing at it, why not there is no teeth in the system any more.

Brian said...

"The delay was probably a result of a low toner cartridge in the printer or something."


(So funny, in fact, that I'll even forgive you for mispelling my name!)


cherenkov said...

Brian: Fixed. I will have a talk with my quality control department.

Chum: Agree, but there is not too much the cops can do about the punishment aspect. They can't even "accidentally" knee the perp in the face anymore because everybody has a cell phone camera. ;)

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