Coun. Scott McKeen sees a chronic problem with some apartments. He wanted to go to the same type of solution that was used on run-down motels along Stony Plain road this past summer, by having business licences pulled. However during a council committee Tuesday the idea was rejected.
Police said there would be unintended consequences, and hardship for the buildings’ residents. Insp Dan Jones is familiar with a California study that showed females who suffer from domestic violence would be doubly victimized. Jones said what is needed is for more affordable housing to be built, because all the EPS can do right now is handle the individual call.
“Really that’s what we’re doing right now,” Jones told reporters. “As police we get called to a call. We address the call. We solve it for the moment then we go on to the next one. What it doesn’t do is settle the long term issues in crime and places. So we are technically the buying time piece of the puzzle right now.”
The California study showed that if a landlord puts a rule in that would have a tenant evicted because the police show up too many times, you’d find an abused female tossed on the street if she calls 911 when her ex is banging on the door.
“The answer is being able to focus specifically on some of these places and deal with the criminality with support of the system,” Jones said. “We have individuals at a residential property and we need to have the time to focus on those individuals and either bring them to justice or off shoot them into some type of restorative justice type thing, it’s not about throwing them in jail all of the time, but it’s about dealing with the root causes.”
“I often times I feel like a Maalox tablet that someone gave to someone with stomach cancer for their heartburn. That’s what I feel like sometimes we are in policing because we’re not dealing with the root cause, we’re dealing with the symptom and the symptom is the heartburn.”
McKeen is frustrated. He made his inquiry asking for the report citing one three storey walk up that had over 200 calls for service. “If you had an apartment building like this and you lost your licence then everybody would have to vacate the premises and it would be an empty building, generating no revenue. So it would be, I would say, highly motivating.”
“If there is danger to the residents and often the ones living in those places are vulnerable people then it seems to me we have some responsibility to try to improve those conditions and maybe get that landlord out of that business.”
“Exploiting people by probably overcharging from what I’ve heard, and secondly not having healthy safe housing conditions and then allowing people to misbehave in even violent ways, and that’s all okay? No it’s not okay.”