Dauphin Herald

Dauphin Herald

Tuesday, 04 October 2022 09:45

October 4, 2022

This week’s question for Dauphin mayoralty candidates focuses on crime which has emerged as a leading issue in the campaign.

We asked, “Crime has emerged as a major issue in the upcoming municipal election. Considering the municipal government has no power to legislate criminal laws, has no influence over the courts and no real control over RCMP operations, what role do you see for the City in the fight against crime?”

Here are their answers:

David Bosiak

We all follow the news. We read the paper, listen to the radio. Every incident of violence or property loss gives us pause.

What kind of community do we live in? What kind of community do we want to be? Crime isn’t just about policing and security investments. It’s a multi-faceted problem that requires efforts from a large number of people and organizations. This includes:

• The RCMP – The local RCMP is unable to keep the full budgeted complement due to high vacancy rates and low recruitment in the force nationally. As Mayor, I would meet with the local staff sergeant to discuss staffing levels and scheduling and explore how they can best meet our needs within their reduced complement. I will advocate to D Division and to the federal government, if necessary, to ensure staffing shortages are addressed.

• The Association of Manitoba Municipalities – As mayor, I would engage with other communities that are facing similar increases in crime to ensure a collective campaign to senior levels of government to address the unmet policing needs of rural communities.

• Social service organizations – Criminal activity is often a result of poverty, drug addiction, mental health issues and inadequate social support networks including lack of appropriate or any housing. Dauphin is fortunate to have several agencies dedicated to addressing these needs. As mayor, I would ensure the City took a more active role in leading discussions between these groups, primarily by helping them identify service overlaps and gaps and, when necessary, providing additional funding and other supports to ensure services are fully available and being efficiently delivered. The City must do more than participate in discussions with these groups – it must lead.

• Other communities – Dauphin is not unique in struggling with issues of crime, poverty and homelessness. We must look elsewhere for best practices and consider whether other programs might benefit us. As mayor, I would investigate whether a Saskatchewan Community Service Officer (CSO) program – where CSOs handle less serious matters, leaving the RCMP free to focus on serious crime – would benefit us here.

• Collective action – Reducing crime is a collective activity that should involve everyone. As mayor I would facilitate this collective action by supporting the newly-formed Citizens on Patrol program and working to implement a Neighbourhood Watch program. I would reach out to the Bear Clan and explore the possibility of partnership with them, as well.

• Individual Action – As mayor I would follow the lead of other Manitoba communities which send out daily email and telephone notices reminding citizens to “lock things up” before heading off to bed. I would encourage council to promote neighbourhood and block party events which would allow neighbours an opportunity to get to know each other and lead to a greater sense of personal and neighbourhood security.

• Investment in infrastructure – As mayor I would encourage the City to actively facilitate the development of affordable housing projects in Dauphin and would continue support to existing projects at Parkland Crossing, The Dauphin Friendship Centre and Under One Roof.

There are many opportunities that are within the power of city council and each and every citizen to contribute to making Dauphin a healthy, functioning community that do not require criminal law legislation or police officers or judges. The criminal law is only part of the solution - the rest is up to us. Living in a community means dealing with some level of crime. We can focus on crime and crisis solely or we can put effort into building a community that is healthy and functional for all. We should be moving forward finding solutions, not stoking fears. Vote for me on Oct. 26 and I will make sure the City is doing everything within its power to move toward a brighter future for everyone.

Kerri Riehl

The city is the key player in the fight against crime within Dauphin. City council decides on the number of police officers for the area.

According to the city of Dauphin website we currently have one staff sergeant, three corporals and 18 constables. The area covers 8,000 square kilometres, and borders RMNP, Dauphin Lake to the East, Duck Mountain Provincial Park to the NW and all the towns within that area.

In 2019 council decided to pay for an additional RCMP member to work with four other members in the region as a member of the Crime Reduction Enforcement Support Team who focus on intelligence-based investigations such as drugs and property crime. $3.2 million is spent on protective services. Council’s number one responsibility to the citizens of Dauphin is financial accountability and therefore it is essential this money is utilized properly.

Council has a Protective Services Committee who meets quarterly with the RCMP. They work with them to determine policing priorities. As the deputy mayor I participated in an audit with the RCMP to evaluate the services they supplied to our community.

In 2019 I attended the AGM for the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention. Afterward, I asked the city to become a member of the organization which we did. They provide national practices, mentorship and support from community safety specialists and peer practitioners, as well as monthly workshops and training.

Membership benefits give us access to a large network of professionals, programs, prevention initiatives, community safety plans, resources, and the tools to tackle the issues of crime within our own community.

Our issues are the same issues other communities are facing across Canada, we are not unique to the challenges of today. The positive side of this, is that the solutions are also readily available to us from across Canada, we do not need to “reinvent the wheel.”

In 2019 I put forth an initiative to establish a community wellness advisory committee. This committee was recently established in 2022 and Dauphin received $1.2 million in funding from the provincial government to assist with the implementation of this safety plan over two years. This is a critical component. This group will be tasked with the compilation of data and the development of a safety plan which will then enable council to apply for funding and advocate to other levels of government. This funding can create crime prevention and harm reduction initiatives. Such initiatives could include a sobering center, a restorative justice center, community safety officers, etc.

The citizens on patrol group met on Sept. 22 There was a guest speaker in attendance. Richard Ives from the Dauphin Co-op is spearheading this initiative. He advises that he has 12 volunteers for the program so far.

I love Dauphin. We live in a wonderful community, and I am grateful to be home. I also see concerns that need to be addressed, ignoring, or denying them won’t make them disappear.

There is a lot of passion and willingness within our community to address crime and the risk factors associated with it such as addiction, mental health, poverty, and homelessness. I am a realist. I accept a situation as it is and deal with it accordingly by tackling the issues head on. Difficult conversations are required, and action plans are necessary to address the issues. With 35 years of experience in the police and security industry I have the vision for a safer Dauphin.

City council, your elected officials are the key component to addressing crime in Dauphin and it is possible.

Your vote matters.

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