Policing, Crime, & How We Protect Our Community
Edmonton is no different than many municipalities during COVID. We are seeing an increase in joblessness, desperation, frustration, and economic sorrow. This has the potential to, in turn, translate into an increase in petty criminal activity. At the same time, North American communities are facing another crisis: systemic problems with the relationships between police and marginalized members of the community. This combination sees us increase our dependence on police while at the same time making many of us wary of police involvement in societal issues. What is required is a balanced, proactive approach to fighting crime before it starts, focusing policing efforts and budgets on violent crime, and allowing properly funded social services to tackle mental health issues, homelessness, houselessness, and joblessness.
Relations with Marginalized Members of Society
The systemic problems that Black, Indigenous, and people of colour are facing is real and measurable. I speak from a place of privilege as a white male, middle aged, middle class, straight, and cisgendered. My experience with police is much different than marginalized groups and it’s my duty and those in policing to listen to those voices and take positive action. As someone like me and a group like the police who enjoy the level of privilege we do it is incumbent on us to ensure those voices are heard, stand by those speaking, and as a society effect change where change is due. Black lives do matter. Marginalized voices and experiences have value. Positive change is necessary.
With city budgets under a constant strain to avoid tax increases to homeowners and business and a drop in current funding from the province to continue to deliver basic services, the city faces hard decisions. Allocating police funding should continue to be based on the need of the service but with a focus on pushing away from the expectation that police are needed to respond to every incident. Response should instead be diverted to social service organizations that are better equipped to deal with mental health and societal issues.
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