Being ranked number one is always a sought after situation, right? Well, not always.
Screaming headlines across the province and the country last week pointed out that North Battleford, for the third year, rates as Canadaís most crime-ridden city with a population of more than 10,000.
North Battleford ranked No. 1 in Statistics Canadaís crime severity index in the categories of overall crime and non-violent crime. The city ranked third overall in violent crime nationwide.
Itís worse than becoming famous worldwide for a record skydiving attempt that never happened ó who can spell Michel Fournier?
Its not a title to be proud of, and both Mayor Ian Hamilton and Councillor Ray Fox were quoted in the provincial press putting a positive spin on work going on in the community to bring the statistics into line. All who are attempting to address this issue deserve our recognition and support. Those with constructive ideas should be in contact with the City.
It has been lamented that the addition of five more police officers has done nothing to alleviate the situation. But weíre talking statistics here. And as a person who can transpose a telephone number nine times out of 10, I donít pretend to understand that mysterious realm. It seems, however, if you have more cops on the ground perhaps youíre going to have more crime detection.
As much as we abhor the title, thereís no hiding from the facts, however. A police officer assigned to the Battlefords can be sure there wonít be much time spent helping little old ladies across the street. Cops in this community are busy people.
But for those who take this statistic and picture a community under siege, letís set the record straight. As Fox pointed out to the StarPhoenix and Leader Post, most people will tell you they donít feel unsafe in the city. They do their shopping, enjoy their property and use the walking trials and parks without fear for their personal safety. A recent bear spraying and beating of a teen was a horrifying contrast to how most view their community, but for all its sensationalism, such incidents are thankfully rare.
Sadly, property safety is another issue entirely. Far too many can recount being victims of theft from a vehicle, senseless property damage or break and enter and theft from their homes or garages.
Letís put our support behind those organizations who are trying to get a grip on crime in this community, letís keep our eyes sharp and let the RCMP know when we see something amiss.