Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek recently faced tough questions from an independent journalist regarding her previous vote to defund the city’s police budget by $20 million, while violent crimes, including stabbings and a teenage girl’s shooting death, are on the rise in Canada. Gondek refused to answer and silently walked away from the podium during the press conference.
Rising Crime Rates in Canada
In recent weeks, Canada has seen a surge in stabbings and murders across the country, with nine police officers killed in the line of duty since September 2022. Notably, a 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death in a random attack on a Toronto subway platform, while another 15-year-old girl was shot to death in a parked car in Calgary. The rising crime rates have caused concern among citizens, and the Alberta government has announced increased funding for police in the biggest cities of Calgary and Edmonton.
Alberta Premier Announces Funding for Street Cops
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced at the press conference that 100 street cops would be hired through provincial funding in Calgary and Edmonton. The funds must be used solely for street cops to address the rising crime rates, largely due to the federal government’s “catch and release” bail system. The bail system often releases violent offenders back onto the streets shortly after their apprehension. Smith stated that the federal government needs to reform this system, and municipalities need to work with police services to fight against criminals.
Calgary’s Response to Rising Crime Rates
Calgary has seen a 46 percent increase in violent crime incidents at transit stations from 2021 to 2022, leading Gondek to announce increased security measures. However, some citizens and journalists question Gondek’s commitment to public safety, given her previous vote to defund the police budget. Additionally, the city council passed a bylaw targeting protests against pro-LGBT events at public buildings, including drag queen story hours targeting children. Those found guilty of breaking the new rules could face fines of up to $10,000 and one year in jail. Protests against the bylaw have seen a heavy police presence.
The rising crime rates in Canada have caused concern among citizens and led to increased funding for police in Alberta’s biggest cities. The Alberta government and municipalities need to work together to address the root causes of rising crime rates and reform the bail system. While Calgary’s increased security measures at transit stations are a step in the right direction, some question the city’s commitment to public safety given the previous vote to defund the police budget and the passing of a bylaw targeting protests against pro-LGBT events.