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Do Calgary Police Truly Understand Calgary Crime?

A recent news item notes that Calgary is experiencing a rise in petty crimes—small property theft, primarily—even while the overall crime rate is dropping and the city continues to be one of the safest in Canada, if not the world. Certain statements made by the Calgary Police and other officials in response to these trends indicate that while they are wavering towards a better understanding of crime as a social problem and not as the result of "evil" impulses, they still don't fully grasp the way in which certain laws and social structures are encouraging these minor crimes.

Drug Laws and Calgary Property Crimes

Petty thefts, which are wholly responsible for the "rising" crime rate in Inglewood and several other Calgary communities, are no laughing matter for the victims or for those accused of these crimes; they represent a serious violation of personal security and one's sense of safety, while also presenting serious legal consequences for anyone convicted of such a theft. But while these crimes should not be taken lightly, they need to be understood in the right light if any real progress is to be made.

Calgary Police District 1 Staff Sgt. Kyle Grant seems to suggest a preliminary understanding of what the growing number of property crimes can be attributed to, and his view warrants further consideration:

"It can probably be related a lot to the drug trade. Especially when you've been hearing a lot about the fentanyl issue ... Because it's so cheap people are committing what I'll call crimes of opportunity."

To use language more blunt than Staff Sgt. Grant's: many of these crimes are likely committed by drug addicts who see an easy opportunity for quick cash in order to score another fix.

What this representative of the Calgary Police doesn't do, unfortunately, is suggest that we target the root of the problem—drug addiction, and more broadly, the criminalization of drugs—rather than focusing only on the symptom of petty crime. This is made even more dismaying because other parties, including Ward 9 Council member Gian-Carlo Carra and Inglewood Community Association president Bill Bakelaar, suggest community responses to the crime problem.

"In the summer months we do get a transient population start to bloom along be less surveilled regions of the river pathway systems," Carra said, complementing comments made by Bakelaar that increased community awareness and surveillance would lead to reduced crime. These people are suggesting that a stronger community reduces crime by making it harder for criminals to perpetrate crimes undetected.

If the community pulled together to prevent and treat drug addiction, and looked at drug laws in a way that made sense for the community at large, they would have an even greater impact.

A Compassionate Criminal Defence Lawyer for All of Calgary

Preventing crime and making a stronger, safer Calgary requires understanding the roots of "criminal" behavior, not distancing ourselves from those acts we may view as immoral or unhealthy. For a Calgary defence lawyer who understands not just the law, but the people the law is meant to protect and uplift, please contact my office today.