October 30th, 2020

City needs the tools to deal with crime, addiction


By Letter to the Editor on November 1, 2019.

We are all aware of the current situation in Lethbridge. The increased crime – theft, vandalism and violence – which grows daily in our fine city is an issue of fear, frustration and despondency for our residents. >As the “release” of those with whom the police deal for “petty” theft, etc. continues, the bravado of the criminals increases. Thus, we are now facing violent crime.

Yes, there have always been drugs and crime in Lethbridge – as in any city. However, with the supervised injection site, that crime has exponentially increased as some poor souls who are addicts need to get money for their drugs. The drug pushers have moved in and are happy recipients of stolen goods.

What last year started as entitled entry into people’s yards and cars, in search of recycling bottles, bikes and items to sell, has now become a rather rampant and regular sleuthing for things which are not nailed down, breaking vehicle windows, etc. There is no fear in the thieves re: getting “caught” or being seen. In fact, when confronted in the act of crime, bravado, abuse and violence result.

The citizens of Lethbridge are not being protected. The police force is stretched and probably frustrated at their lack of clear progress. >Taxpayers are angry. >We have parents who are afraid to let their kids walk home from school, a city centre where many people now refuse to go, and citizens wanting to be supportive to the plight of addicts while trying to protect their children and their homes.

We need a dedicated Crown prosecutor now. We need effective bylaws. We need means by which to deal with and for the addicts. We need to feel safe where we live.

It feels to many here that the supervised injection site was “forced” on us and we are left alone to deal with the horrendous consequences. It is unconscionable that our citizens are left to deal with the fallout.

We want our safe and wonderful city back but are wise enough to know that we cannot go back. We can, however, come to a place of “safety” in every area of the city, and confidence that there are legal ramifications for thefts and violent crime.

Government must protect the citizens of Lethbridge. We need clear plans to effectively deal with crime and addiction here. We are approaching a situation of crisis and chaos.

Norine Dodge

Lethbridge

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Citi Zen

Only one solution… Make Lethbridge less inviting for the druggies. Don’t offer Safe Injection Sites, don’t offer free food, don’t offer a warm place to crash. Arrest and detain the pushers.
Without these comforts, they will move on. Stop adding to the problem by making them feel safe and welcome.

Socrates

Norine and Citizen, you have hit the nail on the head. The question is “why our Mayor and Council cannot understand this simple thing?

JustObserving

A “Dedicated Prosecutor” to deal with the Traffickers would have to come from the Federal Government. Send your comments to our MP. As it stands we are a “branch office ” of the Dept. of Justice out of Calgary. I’m not holding my breath on this one happening.

“Dealing” with the addicts who commit crimes is Provincial Jurisdiction. Send your comments to our MLA’s and DEMAND the creation of a “drug court” in our City to deal with these offenders. Calgary and Edmonton are not the centres of the drug universe – expanding their programs to other cities is an immediate “need” . The prior government saw fit, with City Council acquiescence , to bring the addicts to us. . It is up to the current government to take the next step if the Province and Council are not prepared to admit the “Progressive’s” attempt at social engineering is a failure and shut the Injection site down. . Perhaps, in the interim, our Judges should start adjourning all drug related files to Calgary Drug Court sessions so they can be dealt with by a “dedicated COURT”. Chances of any of this happening, I’m afraid, are slim.

If you wish a Government that “protects” the citizens, hang tight till the next city election and then put the majority of the current council to the curb with your recycling. The current crop are too invested in the injection site and it’s mantra to do anything meaningful other than pass the buck [ lipstick on a pig has always seemed to me to be a suitable motto for this council on many fronts]].

Until then, I suspect we are saddled with the status quo or worse. Lock your doors, lock up your property, travel in groups with a pseudo-police escort during daylight hours and remember who it was that brought this situation to your doorstep.

Sparkybobbi2

Yes, Norine has written to local, provincial and federal representatives– ministers, premier, prime minister, associate ministers and MLA’s as well.

I agree…WE NEED A DRUG COURT in LETHBRIDGE now…both for the safety of the citizens and for the growing number of addicts. Helping them to “intox/detox” is the first step in assistance.

It is my understanding that the previous Police Chief advised the mayor and council to lobby for a safe injection site here in Lethbridge. If that is so- and I am not 100% sure it is- then not only misguidance occurred here.

Is there such as think as a vote of non-confidence which communities can use to UNSEAT elected officials and mayors? If not… what a shame!

It is essential that everyone takes the time to write and send letters. There is certainly power in numbers. The letters do not have to be long…but they should be specific and focused.

I have done mine… Please do yours.

JustObserving

Sparky. not only do we not have anything approaching recall legislation, the last government saw fit to ADD another year to civic politicians terms . We get to live with voter’s mistakes for 4 years, rather than 3. I guess when you leave it to politicians to “make the rules” we know who’s best interests they protect.

Drug courts work well. The users who want help are given the chance, in some cases many chances, to prove themselves and become productive. The ones who try to game the system and use a desire for “re-hab” as a get out of jail free card are weeded out and public safety takes precedence.

I encourage ANYONE with an interest to read up on the Drug Courts at the Alberta Courts website or the site of your choice.

Southern Albertan

Again, in the big picture, we only need to look to Portugal who has largely, and successfully dealt with drug/opiate addiction and the crime, etc. that surrounds it. Trouble is, we need federal and provincial governments to buy in to this, literally, with monies spent, including doing what it takes to decriminalize the possession of drugs. In Protugal, folks were more willing to step up for help offered and available, when this decriminalization happened there.
It also needs to be understood in the biggest of pictures in our society now, that plenty of what generates drug addiction, crime, unwanted pregnancies, poor health, poor education, etc. is…..poverty. Thus, it is money in the bank to do what it takes to deal with poverty and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. We only need to look to financially successful social democrat countries such as Norway who obviously know how to take their capitalist wealth and do awesome equal wealth distribution, for the good of all, with still, opportunities for individual wealth. A society who is educated, has good health, has a roof over their heads, has adequate nutrition, has good employment, is rated as one of the happiest societies in the world, etc., is much less restless society…..again, money in the bank. Poverty, in the long run, is way too expensive.