Despite plummeting crime rates, Edmonton police await word from Mayor Mandel's office regarding how big their budget increase will be next year
It takes a lot of guts for a mayor to come out publicly and say that more cops doesn't necessarily translate into less crime. That's because these types of factual statements don't get you votes and tend to make you a tad unpopular with the boys down at the precinct.
However, that's exactly what Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel did this week when he spoke publicly about a number of recommendations that will be coming forward to his council regarding how to reduce crime in his city.
As I've previously stated here on numerous occasions, police budgets in Canada's major cities are out of control. They are ballooning much faster than cities have the ability to pay. In fact, compared to other city departments, police budgets have seen steady year-over-year increases for as far back as the eye can see.
That's why Mayor Mandel's comments and his approach to reducing crime and keeping a lid on tax increases is such a breath of fresh air. Rather than simply throwing millions more tax dollars at the crime problem by simply hiring more police, he's looking at innovative ways of getting at the root cause of crime. This means trying to prevent the crime before it actually happens.
At this stage, the $400K report has not been made public, but he hinted to the Edmonton Sun regarding what we might expect to read in the coming months. He said you can expect recommendations such as:
- invest in more after-school programs, particulary between the hours of 3:30 to 6:00 pm
- develop programs to better deal with those people impacted by fetal alcohol syndrome
- create a new "centre for community safety" which will become a clearinghouse for Edmontonians wanting to participate in crime-prevention programs
We're placing a few calls into our Edmonton contacts to see if we can't get any additional advance information before this much anticipated report becomes public. No word yet from the Edmonton police union regarding their reaction to some of the report's early recommendations.