Saturday, January 14, 2006

Publish Day - Ink Blog - Writing bloody murder

As many Canadians already know, a 15-year-old girl out shopping on Boxing Day in downtown Toronto was caught in the crossfire of a gang-related shootout (read here and here for additional background.) It was a shocking crime in a world seemingly numbed to this kind of thing.

The horrified response to this senseless murder of an innocent focused on how Canada's larest city is grappling with an apparent trend toward increased rates of violent crime.

From my little perch in a relatively small city a couple of hours down the highway, I wanted to reflect the reality that the issue is hardly confined to one large city. It affects us all. Read on...
Our homicide rate worse than Toronto
Published Thursday, January 5, 2006
The London Free Press

Londoners often look to Toronto and sigh with relief that our burg isn’t riddled with gun violence that kills teenage girls in broad daylight and disproportionately erases the lives of dozens of young African-Canadian men.

We shouldn’t be so smug.

London recorded 19 gun-related crimes in 2005 – a new high. Our 14 homicides pale in comparison to Toronto’s 78 – until you factor in our relative population sizes and realize our homicide rate tops theirs.

Whether or not we wish to admit it, we’re just as vulnerable to violent crime as any other Canadian city. Ignoring the issue won’t make us safer.

An election campaign gives us a chance to push candidates hard on issues that matter. I’d argue that public safety is one issue that matters.

The candidates will soon be gone. Violent crime, however, will persist.

Don’t let the politicos slide by with canned answers and vague policy directions.

The ones who show that they get it – and that they won’t forget about it after assuming office – will get my vote.

-30-
Disclosure: I wrote this from a coffee shop in Florida - see this entry for more - but I was writing from a Londoner's perspective. Now I know how ex-pats feel.

Your turn: Wherever you live, is public safety a hot-button issue for you? Why?

35 comments:

la la la I can't hear you said...

Michele sent me this time. But I was just here. Wow, your blog is like a revolving door to me.

kenju said...

It is not too much of a problem here in our county, but the next one over has a very high murder rate and gang activity. I wouldn't move there if you paid me a million!

Barbara said...

Hi Carmi - I live near Rochester NY, which has a very high murder rate. the criminologists link it to drug traffic exported from NYC.
Michele sent me.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

We all want to be safe but sometimes you have to live your life. Pittsburgh's crime rate has gone up, but look at the economy etc. It's not as good as the gov't is painting it to be. So when there's unemployment etc...there's going to be more senseless crime.

It's sad.

Here via Michele's this time.

Chatty said...

I grew up outside DC and moved to NH where there was no crime. It found me and I moved to the country. It didn't take long for something stupid to happen here too. It doesn't matter where you live. Just be careful and vigilant.

Michele sent me.

Karen said...

Hey Carmi! I'm just lurking at Michele's this afternoon and thought I'd visit.

This is a huge issue here in Milwaukee. Our crime rate is just through the roof and our inner city is plagued with a great deal of guns and violence. Last week a young girl was shot in the neck while she was on her school's playground. The shot was fired as part of an argument over a cell phone. Amazingly sad, but she is recovering, which is good.

I'm not sure what the answer is.

Hope you're having a good day.

Plain Jane said...

I live half way between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC. You might remember our Sniper escapade not that long ago - right around the corner from us.

It gave a new slant to walking the dog, that's for certain. Just never new if a bullet was going to shatter your existence and every white box truck became suspect. It's not good for the soul to live in fear.

No matter where you live, you can never truly be safe.

panthergirl said...

It was definitely more top-of-mind when I lived in NYC. Now, I am probably more cavalier than I should be about crime because it's fairly non-existent where I'm living.

Good article, though.

Here by way of Michele today!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Wonderful article Carmi! Yes indeed...this is a hot issue here in L.A. So very many senseless killings..a HIGH number of these 'Drive-By' type murders....A very dear and old friend of mine's mother got caught in one of those Drive-By situations..as she was going into her apartmemt..(The apartments here can often be entered at street level in L.A....)
And she died! That was 10 years ago probably...and still, it doesn't stop!

I love the things you write Carmi and your passion for what you believe in...Great!

Here from Michele today, my dear...

margalit said...

Odd that you wrote this today. Yesterday we had a murder in our city. It's a small city, more like a big town, with <90K people. But we've also been voted the safest city in the US several years in a row, so to have what appeared to be a cold blooded killing right in our city kind of put the voilence in perspective. We only live 6 miles from inner city Boston, but the violence usually stays within the city and doesn't drive out to greener pastures. Yesterday, it did.

I'm totally and completely anti gun, and wish every gun was confiscated and off the streets. I'd like that hunters would have to rent guns for the day to hunt, like skiiers do. And the rest of us should be able to get along on our own without weapons.

Polly Anna...from Michele

Pink Pen said...

I live in the GTA... this whole gun thing scares the crap out of me... And yet, all the politicians just keep spewing garbage and nothing is improving. I wish I had answers...

michele sent me!

Suburban Turmoil said...

Michele sent me- But I lurk here often!

I live in a city where all of the crime is pretty much limited to one "bad" area. It's too easy for us to just look the other way and ignore it, unfortunately.

Kat said...

That's a terrible story. I still think of Canada as being so much safer than the U.S. (Apparently Michael Moore succeeded in brainwashing me to some extent!) I live in NYC, where I generally feel safe, but probably shouldn't.

Denny Shane said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting Carmi...

It's high all over, no matter where we live... and we simply don't have any answers. Even though there are no surface answers at present, we cannot give up trying to find them. Shrug... someday there will be an answer.

Michael Manning said...

Carmi: First off HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SINCE I NOW HAVE MY COMPUTER REPAIRED! Here in my hometown we called in NYC's Red Beret's who ride their subways to train volunteers. There was a big uproar (denial) but with policemen shot already in 2006 I am hoping our new Mayor does something! I can't wait to leave here! How heartbreaking! A child caught in crossfire. Thanks for posting about the worst crime imaginable. We need to all wake up!

Radioactive Jam said...

Here in central Florida we seem to have a fair number of shocking, violent incidents. Some are particularly bizarre, like Friday's: an eighth grader brandishing a Beretta-like pistol, shot in the head by a SWAT team. The boy's weapon proved to be an Airsoft replica - it shoots hard foam pellets - with its normally pink/orange tip painted black. For realism, I suppose.

The boy is on advanced life support. One doctor described the injuries as "inconsistent with life." Whateve rthat means.

According to a local news report, some neighbors described the boy as a suicidal loner. Another said he's a "polite, normal teenager."

Anyway. Hope you enjoy(ed) your time in Florida. And while I like what I've seen of your weblog, I admit to having misinterpreted the "Written Inc." part of the url before actually loading the page. I write software for a living, so my built-in bias saw writteninc as "written in c."

Which would be a tricky, clever schtick for a weblog: compose each post so it looks like a formatted program source file. For extra challenge, make the post able to be compiled into a working executable. Even inane, trivial functionality would be cool...

Sorry. I'll stop now.

chronicler said...

Michele sent me too!

I didn't realize Canada had as many problem with violence as California. Wow.

I was born and raised a city kid and learned very young to always be aware. It makes being in public always a bit tense, yet at the same time I enjoy really watching people. I seem to see so much more than most just by being careful.

Minerva said...

How strange to read about another London which has so few muggings... Yes, it is major..because I bring up my children here, because those burglaries or muggings are done by disaffected young people and as a teacher, I so want to offer them a different way..*sigh*

Michele sent me today...

Minerva

Chatty said...

Back again via Michele! :)

Charles (Canadian in Hong Kong) said...

I definitely have that concern when I think about living back in Canada or the US. But Hong Kong? This place is incredibly safe.

Carmi, you are one guy I would love to meet someday. I think next summer when I am back visiting family we should connect for a beer or coffee.

NoLabels said...

I lived in Toronto for a number of years and never felt so unsafe as I do now in Toronto. I think we are too laid back with violence. We can't end up like some American city, we have to change and change fast. It is time laws change to make it so that murder is an auto life in prison or better the death penalty. Crime is tough but Toronto is tougher.

Peri said...

I feel safer in Tempe, AZ than in Manila, Philippines, :)

thanks for stopping by on the michele M&G.

Bunny Dee said...

I live in London, and I really have to say it's far from safe... My mother has often called to find out if I've done something as stupid as "riding the tube alone after 8 o' clock at night" or "wandered off in the streets with friends after midnight"...

Well, I've survived so far, and I don't spend my days worrying too much about safety, but I still feel like there's so many places in the world that are actually safer than here...

But what would you choose? Safety or a "European Capital" to milk for all the experiences it's worth?

Ivy said...

Ours wasnt a huge problem until Katrina hit New Orleans. Now we have alot of people living here in SE Texas and since then our crime rate has skyrocketed. Its non stop on the news now. No place is crime free of course. But ours was alot less before..

I could have sworn I had you on my blogroll.. I'm going to add you now..
Michele sent me..

Romanduck said...

Crime is definitely an issue everywhere, and it is a shame that it doesn't get more notice and that, as you say, people are numb to it. Makes you wonder what is happening to the human condition. Hopefully things will change in the future, but I think people have to wakeup first. MSM!

Carol said...

I have lived a sheltered life so far. I hope that the leaders of the country will work together to find real solutions.

Vote Conservative! Couldn't resist, Carmi!

Last Girl On Earth said...

Hi Carmi! You can only imagine how much public safety is an issue in NYC! But New York does get a bad rap. I feel safer in NY than I would in many places in Middle America! Actually, I'm in Florida right now. The local news here is really much scarier than NYC. Ironic.

Michele sent me tonight. Hope you are having a pleasant and SAFE weekend.

Dak-Ind said...

in the last few years i think our town has had maybe 5 homicides. in a town of 50k thats not bad i guess. (i can say not bad since i wasnt one of those killed.) i have noticed that sadly in our town the homicides are usually parents killing their children.

its a horrible thing that our society is just used to people killing each other.

michele sent me to join in this conversation. it is always a pleasure to talk things over with you.

Plumkrazzee said...

Michele sent me tonight...so sad, great article.

Kevin said...

Once again, Carmi, you've hit the nail on the head. One should never be smug where violent crime is concerned. In a world full of random possibilities, anything can happen. Anywhere. I don't know if reaching out to politicians is the answer, although I suppose it can't hurt. Has there ever been a politician capable of a quick fix?

Jennifer said...

Since you're moderating, don't post this one ;). I'm not worried about public safety so much as I am keeping our seven-year-olds off the streets. A seven-year-old from my daughter's school borrowed his mom's truck and drove seven miles through town last week. It made national news. I'm so glad I was home that night!

Aging Fabulous said...

It is a scary world that we live in and to think that Toronto has come to this is sad... It's changing way too fast. I want the old Toronto back.

Im Chele In [dot] LA said...

I live in Los Angeles, California..
this is an every day thing here..
with no end in site..

over from Michele's..

Erin said...

Hello from Michele's.

I live in a small town where violent crime is virtually unheard of. But just 30 miles south of us, murder and drug violence are a daily occurance. There is also a major university in this city and the crime that occurs on campus is enough to blow anyone's mind.

Deana said...

The other day on my walk at park a daycare class was visiting/playing. There were 2 teachers for 30 kids (I counted). They were preschoolers 4/5 age. There is a creek and wooded area at the bottom of the hill where most were playing. Several kids were off in little groups. I told my sister about it when I got home because I was shocked only 2 teachers could have all those kids. (15 ea for that age here). Worse, the teachers were far away from those little ones. Any pervert could be in those woods and snatch one up...easily. My sister and I were discussing how people tend to wait for bad things to happen in a small town to start paying attention. It just bothered me that they were so careless with these children.