June 17th, 2024

Lethbridge crime rate down in all areas of the city

By Tim Kalinowski on June 18, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDtkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Police Service held a virtual town hall earlier this week to discuss the latest crime stats in the city, and to address recent controversies which are being dealt with under its action plan.
Chief of Police Shahin Mehdizadeh first shared the good news; that crime is going down in all areas of the city year-to-date according to LPS statistics so far over 2020.
“We have seen a significant decrease in crime in all four regions of the city,” he stated.
“I am very proud to say that, and a lot of hard work is going on behind the scenes, great initiatives, and also our citizens’ co-operation. And the key role they play in public safety to bring such great results to this community.”
Mehdizadeh said his officers were working hard to continue that downward trend in Lethbridge.
“A few months ago Lethbridge was named one of the unsafest cities to live in Canada, and we are changing that story,” he said.
“I am proud to say I am very confident that we are going to give our place on the podium to another community, and get off that podium.”
Mehdizadeh credited the success of the Crime Suppression Team, and, more specifically, the police service’s focus on intelligence-led policing for helping to bring those crime rates down.
“The days of random policing and random patrols are gone,” stated Mehdizadeh. “We are in an age of intelligence-led policing.
“Patrols are an important component of policing,” he further explained later during the question and answer portion of the town hall, “and we certainly need to have visibility out there with roving patrols. But what I am talking about is when we have patrols with more focus, and targeted, on problem areas. That will see the biggest benefit to the resources we have, and how we can reduce crime.
“When our officers are armed with information about what’s going on in the city in certain times, where the hotspots are … and they have a choice to go right or left. Thirty years ago you just picked right or left without knowing where you are going – you were just going to drive around. Today, I want our officers to know if they go right, they are going to have a much better impact, and use of time, than going left.”
Mehdizadeh spent the last half of his town hall presentation Tuesday evening talking about the LPS Action Plan, and the five pillars associated with it, Ethics and Accountability, Leadership and Development, Employee Wellness and Mental Health Education, Database Access and a new Communication Strategy.
While touching on all five areas, Mehdizadeh acknowledged the particular concerns about alleged improper access of the police database by some officers for non-police purposes.
“The allegations are not good,” stated Mehdizadeh, “and we have been working to make sure the investigators have all they need to do a proper, methodic investigation to get to the bottom of it. Before even getting into the investigation, we have already implemented a few items.”
Mehdizadeh said the LPS has added a new layer of tracking accesses and all officers must fully state why they are accessing the database before they will be allowed to use it. The LPS has also added a warning page which reminds anyone accessing the database they must do so only for a police purpose. The service will also be doing quarterly audits of all accesses of the police database by LPS staff to ensure accountability.
“It’s to make sure people are using it only for police activities and nothing else,” summarized Mehdizadeh.

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pursuit diver

No doubt there has been a lot of hard work put on all members of the LPS to manifest these results and we all need to realize that they did this, while after getting their budget slashed, during a period when they were already given a very heavy workload.
Soon after the SCS opened the crime rate went up near the SCS almost 6,000 %, that is right, 6,000 %. LPS, EMS and LFD were had a major increase in their workloads when it opened. LPS did their best to respond in a timely manner, while people were criticizing them for the long responses to complaints, briefly, yours truly being one of those ‘ignorant’ people that had no understanding just how busy they were. One member told me it was like ‘drinking from a fire hose’ when they came to work, they hit the ground running every shift.
Add to that those members down with COVID or COVID restrictions, just in time for their budget to get cut, and you may had a better idea just how hard they worked to get crime down.
Let me remind all as well, since there are calls from the Blood reserve for Lethbridge to open another large site:

  1. Lethbridge already has a safe comsumption mobile unit that has been deemed adequate and has been in operation since before the SCS closed,
  2. Even after the SCS opened, there was an increase of drug use on our streets and parks and also an increase of fatal overdoses.
  3. Addicts died in the parking lot of that SCS and within blocks after leaving.
  4. The high costs of operating that SCS and the needed services to deal with the impacts of opening the SCS cost Lethbridge over $22 million for the SCS, over $1 million per year for the Watch, undetermined costs for the D.O.T., increase police/fire/EMS operating costs to massive increase in responses.
  5. Downtown businesses impacted closing or now in debt trying to survive.
  6. The City of Lethbridge’s reputation destroyed internationally.
  7. Numbers of 700 to 1000 users per day were given to the media, but until pressured, close to when AHS took over, Stacey Bourque, the Exe. Dir of the SCS came out with the truth that there were 136 addicts that were using the site multiple times per day. 136 people that cost this city about $10 million per year.

I could continue with many more negative points. But people need to realize that harm reduction doesn’t work, not in Portugal, not in BC and as we have just proven, not in Lethbridge. It is a killing machine that allows addicts to slowly kill themselves!
Lethbridge is on the right track, if they continue, but we need better collaboration with the social support services in the city that have taken on a big responsibility in the last 5 years and the most important:
We need to stop allowing these addicts to wander our streets aimlessly, destroying property, using business outside structure as their toilets and places to do drugs, sleep and ‘hang’, WE NEED TO SAY NO MORE TAKING OVER OUR PARKS AND STREETS and NO LOITERING.
We are allowing them to wreak havoc through the night and sleep in the day in parks and downtown areas. If you are up at that hour wandering around, it is highly probable that you are up to no good, whether it is crime, prostitution or drugs. We have allowed this for that past few years and now it is time for the citizens to stand up and say – – ENOUGH – -!
I applaud the new Chief and the LPS for the hard work! They need our support as they refine their operations to give us the service we need.
LPS should have never had their budget slashed and many citizens I spoke said they would have gladly paid the extra $3 property tax or so it would have cost to maintain the LPS budget during a time they needed it.

Last edited 2 years ago by pursuit diver