When sidewalks my family uses regularly are covered with trails of blood, you might expect me to have something to say. Certainly at least one of my neighbours did.
The incident that I am referring to was a so-called “home invasion” on Borden Ave. N. (just off King E.) that ended in a violent confrontation with some of those involved fleeing through the surrounding neighbourhood. I say so-called because even the initial media reports made it clear that this was not a random incident. The house was known to police and neighbours reported that there were people coming and going for short visits at all hours of the day. It quickly became that this incident was not random and could not accurately be described as a home invasion.
Here is some of the media coverage:
- Overnight disturbance leaves blood trail in Kitchener – CTVSWO
- Targeted attack sends man to hospital, leaves neighbourhood with a chill – The Waterloo Region Record
But this violent incident that grabbed headlines happened far too close to home. For me this was particularly true coming so soon after a murder at the Circus Room on King near Stirling (once THE hottest and hippest place in Kitchener).
Media coverage of the Circus Room murder:
- Man found in Kitchener parking lot with life-threatening injuries – The Waterloo Region Record
- 40 year old charged in parking lot slaying – The Waterloo Region Record
At first, I wasn’t sure what to say. Although concerned by the proximity, I took comfort in knowing that neither incident was random and the chance of myself or my family being affected were virtually non-existent.
I also knew that jumping up and down and calling for more police, more patrols or harsher jail sentences were not the answer. They’d just be an easy, knee-jerk reaction that buys into the myths spread as gospel by the tough on crime types. Even Texas, which has never been accused of being soft on crime, buys the hype anymore as described in this New York Times article.
The federal government
I with the Harper government would set aside its tough on crime agenda that will see more people going to jail and staying there longer. But barring a miracle, that is not going to happen so instead I would like to see more federal money allocated to community-based and grassroots crime prevention efforts. Ideally, we would see a percentage of the new spending on building jails and incarcerating more people dedicated to this purpose. An important criteria is that this money be available with minimal bureaucracy so that the emphasis is upon getting results rather than having a nice set of paperwork.
The provincial government
I would like to see the next provincial government make establishing an Ontario Crime Prevention Strategy a priority with a pragmatic plan for implementing it and sufficient funds to make a difference.
Will these responses prevent the types of violence that have been too close to King and Ottawa? Maybe not. But I believe over time, lower the incidence of violent crimes, more people will be living positive lives and many more will feel safer than they do today.
Follow up post
I’m concerned about the negative impression that you could have about east downtown Kitchener based on this and several other recent posts. Rest assured, there are many people living here quite happily. There have also been several positive developments that I plan to highlight in a future post.