I have lived in Edmonton, Alberta all my life and it is dismaying to find that we are the murder capital of Canada. Yet it’s not all that hard to discover why. So it was with some amusement that I watched the following clip:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/video/canews-22424922/edmonton-fights-highest-homicide-rate-26224384.html

On New Year’s Eve 2011 I lived a half a block from a bar called “The Papyrus” where a young man was murdered and another injured. Residents of the area had been complaining about this bar and its patrons for some time. I, myself, had written to Councilor, Ward 6, Jane Batty expressing my concerns for the violence this bar produced. You would think Ms. Batty took the time to look into her constituents concerns and took a personal interest. No. I received an e-mail from her underlings saying such reassuring things as the Public Safety Compliance Team was sent to investigate. That’s it. Shuffling the proverbial buck off to some committee. My e-mails weren’t the only ones being sent to Ms. Batty’s office, either. My neighbours also commented on getting similar responses to their e-mails. Ms. Batty simply didn’t care. She cared more about destroying a historical airport and building a useless arena than keeping her constituents safe. Two months after contacting her office, a young man was dead. Yes, Ms. Batty really cares about her neighbourhoods. There’s no self-serving interests there.

Am I angry? You bet. In the video (see link above) the mayor of Edmonton (whose run so far has been nothing less of a joke for the average Edmontonian) and the Chief of Police both contend that it is up to the citizens of Edmonton to keep the homicide rate down. Wait!! Really? Does this mean I get a gun and handcuffs? Those could come in very handy. Ahem. Moving right along.

It’s my job to let the city and police know about problem spots, right? Let them know where there’s violence and trouble brewing. Right? Didn’t I do that? Didn’t I e-mail Jane Batty explaining that “The Papyrus” was a problem spot and that the constituents were concerned about growing violence there? I did, didn’t I? I got a flunky e-mailing me back. Paul Feketekuty’s letter was barely a full sentence long. A polite “fuck off” as it were.

So now Mayor Mandel and Chief of Police Rod Knecht are under fire for the amount of violence going on in Edmonton. While Mayor Mandel pats himself on the back for destroying a city landmark and tries to find a way to use Edmonton taxpayer money to pay for his monumental mistake, the downtown arena, young men are dying. These two men don’t even have enough balls to admit that they’re falling short of the mark. Instead they blame the citizens of Edmonton for their mistakes and arrest 17-year-old girls who are HIV positive. Here’s an idea; let’s arrest cancer patients and those infected with hepatitis as a means to lower the crime rate. That’s a story for another blog, though.

So, let me see if I get this right. According to the Mayor and the Chief of Police, it’s up to me to keep Edmonton safe. I don’t get a gun to do this. I don’t get handcuffs or special training. I get a telephone, e-mail and horribly underfunded police. Where’s Batman when you need him? When I do my part, what happens? I get a pat on the head and ignored.

Am I angry? You bet. A young man is dead and the tragedy could have been avoided. There could have been 32 homicides in Edmonton so far this year instead of 33. I did my part, Mayor Mandel and Chief Knecht. Time you did yours.

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