Saturday, October 16, 2010
After BC Rail, Prince George becomes the Crime Capital of Canada!
BC Mary comment: Many thanks to Canadian Canary who has left a new comment. I have added (scroll down to bottom) a very, very troubling indicator of British Columbia's desperate situation. I simply don't understand how Maclean's Magazine could write up this story without mentioning the provincial government's determination to get rid of every public asset coupled with the devastation in the woods, rivers, oceans ... in other words, the means of production with which B.C. once provided employment!
Canadian Canary said:
Hi Mary, I don't know what you or others might make of this Toronto Star story about CSIS fingering BC and Ontario politicians for being too cosy with foreign governments, but I thought I'd pass it along and let you figure out if you wanted to put some mention of these stories on you website.
I found Colin Hansen's non-answers, located well into the article, and Gordo's Invisible Man performance, most interesting. Might be a little off topic re BC Rail Corruption Scandal, but maybe not so far off...
By the way, I could find no mention whatsoever of this latest revelation (a memo confirming names) in either the Vancouver Sun or the Time Colonist newspaper. Unbelievably, the Toronto Star provides the only coverage that a citizen of BC can get on this story. Stunning indictment of BC's "old boys" press club, eh?
Another story that got ignored was the release yesterday of a report of the violence by Victoria Police Department members produced by a police chief from Ontario. The only thing online is this: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/10/15/victoria-police015.html
I heard one (but only one) very hard-hitting news item in a national CBC Radio newscast this morning. Yet when I checked CBC online, I saw the above next-to-nothing story. What a time we're living in.
Despite that, cheers,
Prince George, B.C.,
The worst of the west
Drugs plus gangs equal the top crime cities in Canada
by Ken MacQueen with Colby Cosh and Patricia Treble
Maclean's Magazine - October 14, 2010
In Prince George, B.C., the most crime-ridden city in Canada, almost all violence is connected to drugs and the gangs who sell them.
- Prince George RCMP
Darren Munch was shot multiple times in the middle of an August Saturday afternoon, in Prince George, B.C. The 25-year-old staggered to the middle of residential Oak Street where he collapsed and died, as children played in the sunshine and stunned residents tried to process the scene. Munch’s Facebook photo, which still lives on the Internet, shows a handsome young man in a black patterned T-shirt. He glares from behind dark sunglasses and under a billed cap, striking a don’t-mess-with-me kind of pose. But someone did.
Munch, whose death local RCMP say was “gang-related,” was the fifth of seven murder victims in Prince George so far this year, a disturbing body count in a community of just 74,000. Six of those murders are tied to gangs or drugs, says RCMP detachment commander Supt. Brenda Butterworth-Carr.
Yet, the greatest outrage in the community seemed reserved for the Prince George Citizen, for running a front page picture of Munch’s body, sprawled on the pavement in a pool of blood. The next day the Citizen ran a gutsy, unapologetic editorial under the headline: “Take a look in the mirror.” This is a city in trouble, it warned. “It’s only a matter of time, if left unchecked, before the bullets fly across your lawn, before it is your child prone on the pavement, before someone you know goes to jail, or hooks up with a gang.”
Prince George indeed has a problem, as revealed in this, Maclean’s third annual national crime rankings. It finished with the highest crime score among Canada’s 100 largest cities in a measure of crimes committed in 2009.
Victoria, the scenic provincial capital with a dark underbelly, is a close second. The results again show the Canadian West has a crime problem, as entrenched, if not as extreme, as that in Canada’s North. Of the 14 cities with the worst crimes scores, none are east of Winnipeg. Half of the top 14 cities are in British Columbia, though it is also the province that recorded a nine per cent drop in crime severity, the best in Canada. Saskatchewan followed by Manitoba have the worst provincial crime scores.
There are many theories but no neat answers as to why crime rates are consistently higher in the West. Criminologists point to high-crime inner-city enclaves in cities like Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina and Vancouver. All have transient populations of young males with limited education, addiction issues, fractured families coping with poverty, substandard housing, a thriving drug trade and a gang culture. [And unemployment, you eejits!!! - BC Mary] Police in B.C. tend to blame lenient sentences that leave chronic offenders on the streets. The western provinces share both common problems, and unique challenges.
An RCMP briefing note written in June for senior staff in B.C. estimates the province has 133 organized crime groups with some 800 members, as well as at least 30 street gangs. Almost all draw much of their revenue from the drug trade. “Violence—including homicide, contract killings, kidnapping, vicious ordered assaults, extortion and arson—continues to be the hallmark of all levels of the drug economy,” it says.
The problem, as Prince George is painfully aware, isn’t limited to B.C.’s Lower Mainland. Coordinated anti-gang strategies in cities like Vancouver and Abbotsford helped drive gangs to new profit centres, concedes Butterworth-Carr. Rather like the pine beetle, which has thrown the Prince George area forest economy into turmoil, gangs are parasitic, voracious and highly mobile. The result in Prince George is an unsettling mix of sophisticated gang activity and thuggish violence, as gangsters sort out the local pecking order. The scale can be massive. In May, RCMP raided a rural marijuana grow operation with 18,000 plants in 20 greenhouses, an operation clearly financed by gang money. Assaults and home invasions are common to intimidate and collect drug debts. One young man almost lost an arm this summer when he was attacked with a samurai sword.
The impact of gangs on civic life is easily measured in Abbotsford, which has the unenviable title of Canada’s murder capital in 2009. Technically, the city recorded nine murders that year, a rate 271 per cent above the national average, but Abbotsford police Chief Bob Rich puts the toll at 11. Two local high school students, very minor drug dealers, were murdered in May 2009 just outside the city boundary, a month before their graduation. Police believe they were collateral damage in a war targeting the Red Scorpion gang led by brothers Jarrod, Jonathan and Jamie Bacon.
Eight of the 11 murders were gang or drug related, says Rich. In addition to pouring substantial resources into gang suppression, Rich has made it a priority to take the anti-gang message to every high school and middle school in the city. This year his team is expanding that mission to draw parents, and the issue of parental responsibility, into the discussion.
Victoria’s second-place crime score, worse than far larger Surrey (eighth) and Vancouver (18th), is fed by a significant transient and homeless population, many with addiction problems. Its downtown is a magnet for the region. “We only police seven square miles and a population of around 98,000,” says Victoria police spokesman Sgt. Grant Hamilton. “However, our municipality is the downtown core for a region of over 350,000. We have all the entertainment, nightclubs and the majority of social services, halfway houses, shelters and low-income housing in our area.”
Read it all HERE. See if you can find the word "employment" anywhere.
NB Norwegians were seminal in the foundation of the fishery and cannery industries in BC since day one.....
As for Prince George, its actually very must-have-been-at-one-time-nice downtown is a plague and it's sad that it is; but a big part of the reason is the suburbanization of the city, and the movement of commerce and people to areas once the periphery. But no the east and northeast side of downtown, lining and east of the Queensway, I think it's called the Zone, and it's dangerous in broad daylight and a ghetto of the kind you find in the Bronx or Brooklyn or Chicago's South Side; somewhere that once you're mired in it there's no way out.
All that being said, something my MMA fighter friend Ryan said on Facebook just now about these news items rings true:
So P.G was voted the 1 worst and most dangerous place to live in Canada, fuck the haters and the propaganda..place will always be home and alotta good people came from there....
And I have to agree with that; much to my surprise I found it one of the friendliest and most kind-hearted places of all the towns I visited in the Interior; it has character, or rather its people do.
Also these stats - they seem to be only for cities, not towns or villages or districts, no? Because I think for many years tiny little Lytton had the highest murder rate in Canada....partly contributed to I suppose because only part of the area's population lives in the Village. But a reminder that some of the worst crime, poverty and drug-ridden places in this country are the smalltowns and tiny communities. A combination of boredom, lacklustre education, a culture of violence (rather than culture as such) and high wages paid to relatively uneducated people (boredom + money + isolation + deculturation = drugs). There's not a place I saw in Nova Scotia these last three years that didn't have problems with thuggishness and drugs. Yet at the same time some of the nicest people I've met in all my years were in those self-same places.....
that includes Ryan.....despite the nature of his profession. But those who like to dump on MMA don't understand is that, far more than many professional sports, MMA training teaches humility and respect, a way to channel violence; not wantonly hurt people over matters of anger or money, as is the sad case with Darren Munch....
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