Did You Know…
Calgary Police reported a spike in drug, violence and property crimes in the “Safeworks” injection site area in 2018.
– Violence: almost 50% increase
– Vehicle crime: 63% increase
– Break-and-enters: over 60% increase
– Drug-related calls to police in the zone: 276% increase
“The escalation of problems, I can’t even put into words.”
Calgary businesswoman quoted in Calgary Herald.
A 2006 British Medical Journal study looked at the years before and after Vancouver’s drug injection site opening, and found “no substantial decrease in the rate of stopping injected drug use.”
“There’s been a significant increase in crime, needles and garbage on the streets and parks. . . a dramatic increase of criminal activity, assault and theft in the neighbourhood.”
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, quoted in the Toronto Star.
Overdose deaths in Vancouver rose steadily for years after Insite was opened in 2003. The presence of the site increased public disorder in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to the point that one official called it “a war zone.” Within a year of its opening, Vancouver Police posted four officers at the site and an additional 40 in the surrounding neighbourhood.
Vulnerable persons (users) tend not to report crimes against them (assault/robbery) which leaves a margin of question in current crime statistics.
Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police are against drug injection sites stating, “we believe such facilities will encourage, not reduce, the consumption of illicit drugs among users.”
“Since drug injection sites opened around Moss Park last year, residents say they’re finding more used needles strewn in laneways, dealers selling drugs in plain sight and people attacking passersby.” Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam agreed, “there’s been a significant increase in crime, needles, and garbage on streets and parks.”
Windsor Police Chief: “I have a problem with that, where I cannot trade someone’s safety in order that someone may inject drugs safely,” said Frederick. “I don’t think that’s a fair trade-off and I think that’s what’s happening in these communities.”
“First, the degradation of the communities,” he said. “Second, in some cases, it’s the abdication of any enforcement around drug dealers.” The chief said dealers were attracted to the sites because of “supply and demand.”
“The suppliers are going to go where people are buying.”
“As long as addicts are forced to commit crimes to supply themselves with the drugs and the money to buy their drugs, that’s a problem and it’s a public safety concern.
“From a public safety perspective (it) brings about an element of criminality where drug addicts resort to having to commit crimes in order to feed their drug habit, in order to go to these safe injection sites,” he said.
“We need as a community to focus on providing supports that are needed for addicts in our community,” he said. “I’ve seen the devastation that the impact of drugs can have on a community and people. So our focus as a community should be providing those supports to addicts.”
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