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Friday, February 15, 2008

Stelmach Gets Tough on Crime and in an Enlightened Way.

I like the PC platform on Crime. I have been involved for awhile in the revitalization of “Alberta Avenue” (118 Ave in Edmonton) and have seen first hand the positive impact on a community that results from sustained, concentrated and effective police work. Thanks to Chief Boyd, the members Edmonton Police Service and the Edmonton Police Commission for their terrific work on 118 Ave. This is a perfect example of what can be done - if the necessary resources were made available for the police to do their job.

This 118 Ave area was mostly about drug deals and prostitution. It was where many of the mortgaged frauds took place and where great police work resulted in guilty pleas by the perpetrators of the frauds. Expanding powers of municipalities to tackle crime like shutting down drug houses will provide an enormous payback towards safer communities all over Alberta.

Now 118 Ave is emerging as a revitalized neighbourhood full of artists, festivals and new businesses. New facilities are in progress in the area, there are new neighbours restoring and rebuilding properties. There are new accessible housing developments that are on the verge of becoming reality. Saying you are tough on crime and having the necessary sustained resources to actually be tough on crime is a big difference. Tough action on crime in 118 Ave area has made a big difference to the renewal of life and has added to quality of living on 118 Ave.

I am told that there are chronic criminals who commit the majority of the crimes in Edmonton. This fact is recognized in the Stelmach plan for getting tough on crime as he commits to target repeat offenders. Good idea.

The plan is big on catching bad guys but there is so much more to it. It is very progressive too in that it acknowledges and sets out to deal with some of the major root causes of crime like drugs and mental health issues. More funds for treatment and revised specialized courts are part of the PC plan to better deal with these kinds of “criminals.” These are a meaningful and enlightened approaches to making our communities safer and more liveable – for everyone!

The focus on exploitation of children is already in process but it needs more resources to be effective. The Stelmach plan on crime is on to addressing that concern too. A continued focus on family violence and Fetal Alcohol consequences are examples of more progressive steps in the right direction.

The challenge is proper allocation of resources and that means more money has to be dedicated to properly pay the people who work on these concerns in our communities. We need to show how much we value those community based staffers. They are the folks who deal with these problems involving children, spouses, elders, addicts and the developmentally disabled day in and day out. They are the real keys to any successful outcomes in these policy areas.

Good job Ed and Co. This is the kind of policy announcement I have been waiting for. I think it is a great move in the right direction for all of Alberta.