Yukon Weekly

To deal with property crime, Whitehorse council look at ways

The new Whitehorse council takes a considersideration of how the city will address property crimes and community safety, city staff has already begun looking at other municipalities in the country.

Coun. Ted Laking brought the matter up under new business at council’s November. 8 meeting, highlighting what he said seems to be a recent increase in property crimes. He pointed to an October Royal Canadian Mounted Police press release that highlighted breaks and enters to businesses and residences between Sept. 1 and Oct. 3.

“Over the last 2 months I’ve had several conversations with residents of the town about the impacts this increasing crime is having,” he said, describing safety issues of business owners, women World Health Organization have told him they no longer feel safe walking to their vehicles and others.

He described it as “an important challenge” and acknowledged the city’s limited jurisdiction, given that town bylaw officers are not equipped to deal with crime as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are.

Laking said Whitehorse is in a unique situation as one of the larger municipalities in the country without municipal police. Instead, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is tasked with that work.

“I believe that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police do a … skilled job in the town,” he said. “But RCMP’s direct relationship isn’t with the city.”

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is contracted by the Yukon government.

Laking believes there’s a chance for the town to “assert ourselves because of the voice and leaders for the citizens of Whitehorse on as the of property crime.”

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He highlighted several ways that this could be done together with working with other governments along with community organizations to search out ways to handle the problem as a community. He also pointed to environmental design — like street lighting — which will create a difference as well as look at the root causes of crime.

He went on to question what the relationship is between the town and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Other council members echoed Laking’s considerations, light it as a difficulty that continued to come back informed the campaign path for October’s election.

Coun. Kirk Cameron described the matter as a topic “near and dear to my heart,” noting he lives downtown and plenty of have noticed the problem escalating recently.

Image result for Whitehorse council look at ways to deal with property crime

He said he’s also heard from some tourists United Nations agency has said they don’t feel safe downtown.

Mayor Laura Cabott, meanwhile, said she has already been in touch with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and met with the Whitehorse detachment commander last week.

“I’m very inspired by that discussion, that the town of Whitehorse can and need to have a closer in-depth} relationship with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and others to tackle some of these problems more directly and indirectly,” she said, cautioning that there usually could be a spike in property crimes during the fall.

She also noted there are quarterly conferences between {the town|the town|town} and Royal Canadian Mounted Police and commented she would love to see work underway that may look into expanding some city services to take some work off the RCMP’s plate, enforcing imposing speed limits.

Cabott said she’s also reached out to the territory’s Minister of Justice to debate the matter.

“I do suppose that we have a role in this area,” she said. “And I believe that we will create a difference over subsequent 3 years.”

Acting city manager Jeff O’Farrell highlighted efforts by the administration to look at what other municipalities do.

“It looks like the contemporary approach is for municipalities to specialize in engagement around community safety and policing,” he said. “We do have in our possession now the engagement strategies of municipalities like Langley and the city of Winnipeg.”

After Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu noted the work of the Canadian Municipal Network of Crime prevention, O’Farrell said the town recently became aware of the organization and its work.

He observed council can soon be performing on its strategic priorities for the term and that might facilitate setting the direction for the work to be done on it. Other town employees also outlined efforts underway in different areas such as requirements around street lighting, efforts to form recreation programs and events affordable and accessible to all as a prevention measure, and more.

Source-CTV News

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