Friday, August 13, 2004

A wee punk pic this afternoon...

Edmonton leads the country in police chases
Last Updated Fri, 13 Aug 2004 14:00:49 EDT

EDMONTON - Police in Edmonton got into more car chases last year than in any other Canadian city, and more than twice as many as five years ago.

I'm not sure what to make of this, actually. While my general tendency would be to simply to put it down to the fact that the Edmonton Police have a reputation for being, shall we say, over-aggressive, the numbers are so strange that I think a deeper cause is required. What numbers, you ask? Well, here they are:

Edmonton 232
Toronto 176
Montreal 142
Winnipeg 132
Vancouver 98
Calgary 70
Ottawa 31
Windsor 11

Now, there are a number of possibilities to consider here. First off, we don't know how the different cities tallied up the results. If one city included any incident where the pursuit broke 80 km/hr, and another only counted those that broke 120, that would make a striking difference. It's a distinct possibility, and one that can't be discounted until the actual methodology is seen.

The second possibility is that, in fact, the Edmonton Police are far too quick to stomp on the gas and head off in pursuit of other vehicles. Keeping in mind that those numbers are from 2003, when Chief Bob's extraordinarily confrontational attitude towards the general public was still official policy, this too is a possibility that cannot be shrugged off.

A third possibility is that Edmontonian criminals are far more likely to run away from the Police. I actually don't think this one has much validity, since the number of chases are so much greater for Edmonton, both raw and per capita, that this theory simply can't provide a decent explanation.

So, back where I started, I still don't know what to make of this. I'll be very interested to see this year's numbers, that's for sure. However, the one thing does spring to mind here; aren't we supposed to have a helicopter (maintained by our tax dollars and fueled entirely by Bob Layton's sense of self-righteousness) that was bought (in 2000, incidently) explicitly to help moderate the number and effect of high-speed police chases?

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