VARSHA SRIGANESH / SPUTNIK PHOTOGRAPHY
July 2019 Brantford police chief Geoff Nelson, made an announcement that he was requesting financial support from the Provincial Government for dealing with an extraordinary increase in gun violence within the city.
According to Nelson, after adjusting for population differences, Brantford had received twice as many reports of shootings as Toronto did in the first half of 2019.
Since Toronto receives millions of dollars in provincial tax money to help in its fight against gun violence, Chief Nelson believed Brantford should be another strong candidate for assistance in a similar capacity.
“Specifically, we have asked for financial support from the province, through the Community safety and policing grant,” said Nelson.
This is so the police force can further implement their gun violence reduction strategy. That will include the working partnerships with other jurisdiction to identify people and networks of people connected to gun-related crimes.
Nelson also made it clear that violent crime and particularly firearm offences were not just a problem here in Brantford but all across Ontario, so although this may seem distressing, things may not actually be quite as bad as it seems for the city of Brantford.
According to Stats Canada’s crime severity index in 2018, all across Canada, Brantford ranked only 59 for all-crime related offences.
138 for firearm offences, and 58 for violent crimes. When compared to only other cities in Ontario, Brantford was 10 for all-crime related incidents, 39 for firearms offences and 16 for violent crime.
Overall, Ontario is still statistically one of the safest provinces to live in, in Canada, with crime rates per population second only to Quebec and interestingly enough, the Canadian areas with the worst crime rates are Nunavut followed by the Northwest Territories and Yukon.
There is no need to panic just because the city is struggling with a few bad apples. It’s reassuring to note that the city did indeed receive a grant for 3.2 million dollars in funding from the Provincial government to help aid the municipal police over the next three years.
A task force has also been set up to specifically address these gang-related acts of gun violence. So, a well-deserved reduction in violent crime seems to be on the way for Brantford’s law-abiding citizens.
Specifically, we have asked for financial support from the province, through the Community safety and policing grant. —Geoff Nelson, police chief for the city of Brantford
The unfortunate truth is that crime has been gradually increasing across our entire country again after reaching a low point in 2014. The crime severity index for Canada nationally in 2018 is still far below where it had once been back in 1998.
Our latest upward trend shouldn’t be a cause for too much concern because as a nation, our law enforcement agencies have faced much greater challenges than this in the past.
Out of respect for the Indigenous communities of Canada and here in Brantford, it’s a sad fact to note that while Indigenous populations account for only 5 per cent of the Canadian population, they’ve accounted for 22 per cent of the countries homicide victims in 2018.
This means much more needs to be done to protect our vulnerable Indigenous communities so that we can continue to grow stronger and lead safe, fulfilling lives together.
Police chief says Brantford needs support from Ontario in light of ‘unprecedented’ violence