College Councillor Rick Chiarelli wants to take another look at police resources and funding in the wake of the 49th shooting in Ottawa this year.
No question about it, that’s a good idea but there is more to it than that.
More officers and more money might be able to slap a band-aid on the guns-and-gangs problems in the city. But were the solution only money and officers, it would be easy. Police and money are but short-term solutions.
Gangs and violence come out of the social fabric of a community. If a person is raised in poverty and violence, they might well turn to both of those in the future.
Now that we have had 47 shootings in the community this year, a total much larger than two years ago when Mayor Jim Watson visited the police chief Charles Bordeleau demanding simple answers to this complicated problem, it’s obvious His Worship’s grand-standing is not working.
We need social workers on the ground to use their expertise to change neighbourhoods. It’s not easy. This is not a two-year job but more like a two-decade job.
Photo above: Gun problems are people problems.
If the mayor can pull an idea out of the hat to build a truck tunnel for $2 billion, perhaps he can find some money to deal with social problems in the community that could fester into turning this safe city into a dangerous place.
That’s more important than a truck tunnel, though with fewer photo-ops.
This is a complicated problem requiring sophisticated people to tackle it.
Former city general manager Dick Stewart is out there with the expertise to begin tackling this problem. Maybe it’s time for the mayor to give him a call.
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