Heightened Security. Diminished Awareness.

If a politician says that what is needed to deal with a crime problem is more security, more cameras, guards with dogs on patrol 24/7, the next thing that comes out of their mouth should be: I resign. They’ve simply given up looking for actual solutions. Lock `em up and throw away the key. Problem solved.

“Most of the shootings that have happened in my ward have been at Toronto community housing buildings,” said Councillor Frances Nunziata, Ward 11, York South-Weston. “At these problem buildings we need 24-hour security, guards with dogs patrolling the area.”

According to the councillor, security cameras alone don’t help this situation. At least not in the 84% of TCHC buildings that are equipped with some 4300 cameras. So the only solution is to beef up security further.

The only simple solution, that is. Talk of alleviating poverty, providing opportunities that help keep kids out of the reach of gangs, creating less of a bunker mentality at TCHC properties, that’s a little too complicated, too hug-a-thuggish. And it all costs money. Money that could be better used further shoring up an already plenty shored up police budget.

It just makes sense. Step up an approach that hasn’t proven to be overly effective in curbing a particular behaviour in the first place. Like punching a baby in the face to stop it from crying. It’s going to work at some point of time, right?

Not surprisingly, the three councillors advocating this stepped up line of attack are three of Mayor Ford’s closest allies, Vincent Crisanti, Cesar Palacio along with Speaker Nunziata. There was hardly a program, service, tax they weren’t on board with the mayor to cut. A free public nurse to refuse. A Tenant Defence Fund to de-fund. Yet somehow there’s always money (in the banana stand) to increase security measures.

Never mind that there’s really very little evidence that shows that throwing money at a crime problem in the form of more security and policing yields much in the way of positive results. At best, it’s a knee-jerk, crowd-pleasing, stop gap, make-it-look-like-we’re-actually-doing-something display. At worst, it’s this. Something akin to a militarized zone.

What’s particularly galling about Councillor Nunziata’s role in this is that it’s as if she’s some kind of innocent bystander. Like her regular complaints about her ward and her former municipality of York always getting the short straw on things, there’s no community centre, the downtown gets everything and the suburbs get nothing, blah, blah, blah; all this helpless hand-wringing and cloaking herself in the victim hood and cape. Excuse me, councillor. But haven’t you represented the good people of York for, like, 80 years? If memory serves, weren’t you the city’s last mayor before amalgamation? Shouldn’t you be shouldering at least some of the blame for the state of things in your ward? For having nothing but the most simplistic of solutions?

Rather than just clutching at straws and offering up floppy band-aids, just admit you’re in over head and step aside. That’s what someone who was truly concerned with the residents of your ward would do. And take the likes of councillors Crisanti and Palacio with you. There are serious problems that need to be fixed and clearly your tool box is empty.

submitted by Cityslikr

3 thoughts on “Heightened Security. Diminished Awareness.

  1. Nunziata has been representing her riding since the 80s and alas their is no community centre in that riding still crime though.
    The reactionairies could hiring a million police and there will still be crime!
    Ford says the solution is “jobs.” The reality is that there is a need for resources for youth.
    I heard on the CBC Current yesterday morning about the murder rate in El Salvador going down when the 2 main gangs had a truce; with some behind the scene help from politicians and the prison system…

  2. Ms Nunziata should be ashamed of herself. I worked in her ward for a year. She certainly finds the time to make sure high end condos and businesses get built. There is nothing for the many unemployed and young people to do but congregate on corners and get into trouble. No community center, no programs, no nothing. Why couldn’t the developers of the Stockyards or one of the many other developments add a community center into their plans the way developers have had to in other wards? Perhaps these councillors need to be reminded, much like the mayor, that they are representing ALL the people in their wards.
    We do not need more security, we need a clear and concise, multifaceted plan to deal with the poverty and unemployment in our city. The answer is not in Stormtroopers mounting the walls, it is in education. Perhaps if these councillors took the time to read some of the documents that cross their desks daily, they would know this!

  3. We need a plan, eh? Sure, didn’t we have one (albeit with no transit component) in 2006 and then the New Development Party (you know, the one where councillors get to play at planning) trashed it. Nothing will change until the culture of Ward Politics is booted off Council.

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