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22 Comments

news

Duly Quoted: Bill Blair

Police chief says we need to start intervening much earlier in kids' lives if we want to tackle the causes of gang violence.

“By the time you go, with a 14- or 15-year-old, and try to get them into a program and play basketball, some of these young guys are so completely lost to us that they represent such a significant danger, all we can do is protect everyone from them.”

—Toronto police chief Bill Blair, in conversation with the Globe and Mail, advocating for earlier intervention as a way to help prevent gang activity in the first place, rather than trying to mitigate its effects once someone is already involved. The City of Toronto will be testing a program, first tried in Saskatchewan, that works to engage young people at risk much earlier in their lives.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Looking to Saskatchewan to help solve our gang problems here is akin to asking Israel how to stop terrorism in Florida.

    • Anonymous

      That means good, right? Because Israel has lots of terrorism and Florida has none?

      • Anonymous

        They are totally different places and situations.
        Saskatchewan has issues that are unique to Saskatchewan, as we do here in Ontario.

        • Anonymous

          Let’s reinvent the wheel!

          • Anonymous

            I’m sorry you’re so binary. Educate yourself and learn about the issues in those communities and you’ll spot the differences in about 10 minutes.

          • Anonymous

            Not invented here!

          • Anonymous

            PURPLE

  • Anonymous

    So it’s Blair’s opinion that rehabilitation is impossible?

    • Anonymous

      Blair is clearly saying there are 14 year olds who can’t ever be redeemed, so what’s with the down votes?

      • Anonymous

        Down votes are lazy bullshit. If you disagree with something, reply and EXPLAIN WHY.

        Torontoist, can we get rid of down votes?

      • Michael DiFrancesco

        (Speaking as someone who didn’t downvote) I don’t think that’s Blair’s position, and really, as chief of police, whether or not he believes in restitution and rehabilitation make little difference – where those policies are created and enacted is at the judicial and legislative levels at the province and above, so there isn’t really much a he can do to influence the direction the city takes in that regard.

        What I think Blair’s going for here is the once-of-prevention angle, and to that, I think he’s right. I’m being more generous of his opinion than perhaps I ought to be, you’d be right to argue, but either way: if his solution is to get these kids into community programs to try and keep them from getting desperate and losing hope, well, I’m with him there. Community policing strategies? Good. Please, keep it up. He’s right that it’s a lot easier to keep a young, impressionable kid from getting involved in that shit than it is to get a 22-year-old out of the life with the skills, tools and (most importantly) opportunities to succeed.

        Of course if he goes from this quote to sticking a bunch of inexperienced hotheaded cops into the middle of Jamestown and expecting everything to magically clear up… then yeah I’m definitely with you.

        • Anonymous

          “inexperienced hotheaded cops”

          I’m more concerned about the experienced, bone-headed ones.

  • http://twitter.com/murdoc2k Alex

    Blair’s opinion is that the government should stop kissing the asses of the rich corporations, take a hard look at those who are in poverty and take concrete action to give them job opportunities and education so they wouldn’t be led astray!

  • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

    I really hate to continue flogging this dead horse, but we had a mayor at one point who wanted to build higher-order transit that, among other things, would have made it easy for people (including young people) to get out of certain neighbourhoods and take part in activities (including jobs) elsewhere in the city. For at-risk youth, one effect would have been exposing them to influences different from the ones that push/pull some into gangs.

    We now have a mayor who scuttled that plan, and some councillors who want to bring back something like it—but I don’t know if that part of the original vision is still there. I know that there are quicker, cheaper and more effective ways to accomplish similar things, but it’s still important to remember.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know if you can draw a straight line from lack of transit to gang problems. For instance, the old Regent Park was served by two high-frequency streetcar lines.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think such a line can be drawn; some of the factors that promote and perpetuate insular communities, such as overworked or neglectful parents and language/culture isolation, are at work before kids are old enough to take transit by themselves to see the city beyond their block.

      • http://paul.kishimoto.name Paul Kishimoto

        Watch http://youtu.be/STsOdmkH5fI?t=8m49s to 10:40. There’s been a lot of study of the social justice aspects of urban environmental and transport policy, and I think a lot of our current elected reps aren’t familiar enough with it. Rek’s “overworked […] parents” could spend more time parenting if they weren’t spending hours shuttling between part-time jobs. I don’t stay they automatically would, but they don’t have any choice at all if they’re sitting on a bus on the far side of the city.

        Not a straight line; and neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition; but certainly helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Alas, the city is going to have to spend money and raise taxes for things like TCHC improvements and expansion, subsidized daycare, and social workers, or it’s going to have to spend even more money and raise taxes even higher, for more cops. But let’s not say anything about that, for an election is (always) nigh.

    • http://twitter.com/City_Mayor Mare Ford

      Speaking of which: I hope I can count on your support in 2014!

      • Anonymous

        Um, there’s this pile of sand behind my property.

  • Patrick Sherman

    @twitter-50110453:disqus If a kid drops out of school, is out of control and running with the wrong crowd, how is that the fault of government. I have a friend who was raised by a single mom in the projects who made her boys toe the line and stick with their studies.The man now has a very senior executive position with Community Safety and Correctional Services. The opportunities are there but discipline begins at home and government has very little influence on that aspect.

    • Anonymous

      “If a kid drops out of school, is out of control and running with the wrong crowd, how is that the fault of government.” If the government gave away the store to corporate welfare bums, while allowing/encouraging them to offshore jobs… Well, you do the math, eh?