Quebec Cops Get Failing Grade

In last Saturday’s Gazette, Montreal executive committee member responsible for public safety, Peter Yeomans states “it just doesn’t make any sense” that Montreal cops would get a failing grade for crime-solving.

Say what?

Each Christmas in Montreal brings about three events that go down like clockwork: boxing day shoppers run rabid in the streets, the Habs lose their Saturday night hockey game – usually on home ice, and Stats Can releases their annual crime statistics. The exuberance of the first two events usually obscures the significance of the third – but not this year. Fact is, no one should be surprised by Montreal’s ranking (31st out of 43 Canadian cities), or that Quebec and British Columbia have the worst records for solving crimes. Criminology researcher Paul Brodeur insults our intelligence by explaining that the ranking is skewed by burglary stats. If Montreal’s data includes burglaries, don’t you think the other 43 cities include the same handicap? Hello?

Further, Yeomans says a 70% clearance rate on homicides is “excellent”.

That close to a third of homicides go unsolved? I wouldn’t even call that acceptable. What the stats won’t tell you is that for the past twenty years Quebec has had an unsolved homicide rate 10% greater than that of the rest of Canada, according to statistics from the Ministere du Securite Publique. Further a 70% clearance rate puts Montreal only in a slightly better position than the clearance rate on homicides in the United States for 2002, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. I’m sorry, but wasn’t one of the advantages of living in Canada supposed to be that it was safer (read: better) than living in the States?

Before Yeomans begins bragging about the “excellent reputation” of the Montreal and Quebec police forces, maybe officers need to spend a little more time doing the nuts and bolts work that earn such respect.

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