Sadly, things have only gotten worse. Think this can't touch you? Know anybody who goes to the University of Winnipeg, the downtown Bay, Portage Place, the Health Science Centre...
Things are calming down, garbage-wise. Crime-wise is a whole other matter.
The violence in the West End is on everybody's mind. A quick recap: on Sunday night a 6-year-old girl was raped on Langside Street. She'd been playing with her brothers in a park when a 34-year-old man who has a record approached her. Then on Tuesday on Toronto Street a 16-year-old was killed and a 13-year-old was shot in the leg. On Wednesday an 8-year-old girl and a 10-year-old girl were shot through the window of their home on Victor Street, a few blocks from Langside, by a 14-year-old. That's 4 kids shot in 48 hours.
For 4 days garbage was in the air in northwest Winnipeg. I don't know... maybe Sam and his buddies had gotten a deal on gas for garbage trucks. Something had made them decide to lump 3 big garbage occasions here for our waste removing pleasure.
First there was Giveaway Weekend. This caused a few hassles because folks had deliveries from places like Home Depot. Stacks of concrete blocks were on the walkways. They were too heavy to move. Signs were plastered on them saying "Don't touch" and kids were assigned to guard them. Fun, eh?
On Monday we had our regular garbage pickup. The next day we had the special, 'we're being so helpful' yard waste pickup. That was a joke. The truck just whizzed through. Nobody had the time to hunt down the special bags that were required.
That was nothing compared to what was going on just a little ways from us.
The Mayor says it's up to the Federal Government to look into the Criminal Code. Young people know how to play the game. Younger kids are recruited by gangs since they know the system just slaps them on the wrist.
What excuse does the Mayor have for that 34-year-old?
Premiere Selinger says his methods are effective. He also said the province will work with the city to provide after-school options. No details on when or how.
The provincial Conservatives blame Selinger. They want officers focusing on gangs. The police say it's intergenerational. Kids are growing up in a 'culture of crime'. What the hell does that mean? It's a culture, like being Swedish? They should put on a show during Folklorama?
The police seize guns every week. But, in the growing criminal and drug 'culture', there are just more guns on the street than ever. Since January they've taken 400 guns off the street. The police are not planning on doing another Clean Sweep. They've added 13 officers to Winnipeg streets and they're looking forward to getting a helicopter in the Fall.
Youth mentoring programs have helped. Rossbrook House is an example of what can be done to get kids off the streets. The Aboriginal community wants youth programming, but the funding keeps getting cut. Apparently the government thinks it's more cost effective to hunt down and arrest kids after they've killed somebody.
A former gang member wants people to stop dwelling on what happened in the past and to start taking responsibility for their kids now.
People want more police presence, something for kids to do and for Parliament to get tough on crime.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
(Originally posted May 29, 2010)
Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!