Sunday, August 23, 2009

Esquimalt’s crime rates drop so they want to pay less

The Esquimalt mayor considers that the crime rate is a tool to look at being able to reduce what they pay for police services. Given that the crime rate has gone down since the police were amalgamated, the thought is that so might the expenses.
The thought is indicative of the problem of different “bosses” controlling the same department. Obviously, if the crime rate were to plummet to half of what it was five years ago, no one, for a long time, will suggest that the policing provided should be cut in half. Likely it is the policing that has resulted in less crime.

Even if the policing itself has not resulted in less crime, the point is that in a unified city, the issue of how much a particular area is contributing to overall safety would never and should never be raised.

Policing is a regional issue. Esquimalt should pay to help police downtown. So should everyone else as many of the problems originate from people who live in the 12 other municipalities? To waste time asking if we are paying our fair share is just that, a waste of political resources.

It is fair to ask are we as a region getting the best value for our policing dollar, but those dollars are to be shared by us all. Even the possibility that Esquimalt might, due to a decrease in crime in their area, obtain a temporary reduction in costs, at the expense of Victoria is foolish.

Perhaps there should be an overall reduction in Police spending. That argument is reasonable to pursue. If so there will be a savings for all. But to look at the issue in isolation, is like Sunnymead saying we should pay less tax as we do not use near the police services allocated in other areas of Saanich. Would that be reasonable? Perhaps the residents of Sunnymead would appreciate reduced taxes, but likely they also appreciate the opportunity to go to the Royal Oak mall and know there is a reasonable level of police services there to protect them.

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