More police in New Brunswick not the answer, experts say

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More Police in New Brunswick: Not the Solution, Experts Say

The provincial budget makes tackling crime a priority and that decision is questioned.

New Brunswick's budget provides $33 million to improve community safety, including a 15% increase in RCMP officers in Province. For criminologists, this measure to fight against the rising crime rate is not the solution, but rather a “reflex that has never been proven”.

Jean Sauvageau, professor of criminology at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, is not surprised that the government has chosen to invest in police forces to solve a complex problem.

The criminologist specifies that in the context where police forces are very busy in the province, this news should delight front-line workers. I imagine that having a little reinforcement will be welcome on the ground.

But in the context of fighting crime, these investments miss the mark. This is not the right way to do it. It won't have the expected results, he says.

Jean Sauvageau, professor of criminology at the 'St. Thomas University in New Brunswick (File Photo)

Jean Sauvageau recognizes that crime is increasing in New Brunswick, as everywhere in the country, particularly since 2014, and that it is high time to act. But increasing the number of police is not the way to go.

If we took the trouble to study well first. From the increase in crime, who commits what type of crime, for what reasons, in what circumstances. We could target better and probably discover that these are things that the police are not able to do, he explains.

Jean Sauvageau adds that the fact of turning to the police is an almost natural reflex that has never been proven.

He believes that the government must therefore better understand the reasons for the increase in the crime rate and invest in resources related to these problems.

If we invested in the drug issue instead, as it is a health problem and not a legal one, we might start to see a real impact.

Marie-Andrée Pelland, professor of criminology at the Université de Moncton, agrees and believes that the province does not necessarily need more police officers.

Marie-Andrée Pelland, professor of criminology at the Université de Moncton (File photo)

We need teams: social workers-criminologists-police officers, to go into situations crisis, because the police officer is perhaps less trained to intervene in a crisis situation when there are mental health problems, questions of drug use. The social worker is trained for that, she says.

“I think you have to think outside the box, it's not the police that we need on the streets, for example in Moncton, it's people trained to intervene in crisis situations . »

— Marie-Andrée Pelland, professor of criminology at the Université de Moncton

Last August, a Statistics Canada report revealed that Moncton had the third highest police-reported crime rate in Canada in 2021. The Crime Severity Index has also increased.

Codiac RCMP Moncton Detachment Commander Benoit Jolette says Moncton is a special place and difficult to compare to other parts of the province, citing homelessness and drug issues .

Benoit Jolette, Commanding Officer of Codiac RCMP Moncton Detachment (File Photo)

Commandant is pleased to see government increase spending on public safety.

This is very good news for everyone who works for the RCMP, the police community for the province of New Brunswick, he said, adding that Moncton's budget is different and stems from the budget of the three municipalities that the detachment serves, but that it often does business with specialized units in the province.

He adds that for his detachment, the priority is to develop partnerships with the three municipalities. An increased presence of police on the streets will be noticed in the coming weeks and they will seek to interact with the population.

We want to be part of the community, we want to make the city and the region safer, so you're going to see us in different ways: on foot, by bike, by vehicle, and I can't wait to see the results, throw- he.

Crime in Moncton: RCMP plans increased presence this summer


Crime in Moncton: RCMP are planning an increased presence this summer. 6-minute audio content, ICI Première show. Listen to the audio.

City Councilor Charles Léger is pleased to see that the police will be more present on the streets of Moncton.

Having officers who are dedicated to organized crime or in terms of drugs, is also going to be something that is going to be very effective for us in terms of our public safety, he says.

Thus, in its budget , the Higgs government chooses to make fighting crime a priority.

In a document attached to the budget and released to the press on Tuesday, the province provides more details on its strategy for police reform. The increase in annual funding will allow for the addition of 80 RCMP officers, including 51 front-line officers.

The document also indicates that the additional funds will be used to recruit personnel for the specialized units that are unable to meet current needs.

Investments are also planned to ease pressures on the justice system and improve the safety of inmates and staff in the province's correctional facilities.

For some, this choice is not not the right one.

We saw a 33 million increase in public safety, but we saw zero mention in culture, we saw very few mentions in l environment, says Green Party MP Kevin Arseneau.

Green MP Kevin Arseneau

The investments of $29.7 million for the recruitment and retention of health personnel are a step in the right direction, but we are disconcerted to see that the government plans to invest even more money, $32.6 million , to increase the number of police officers in the province. The government doesn't seem to have its priorities in the right place, says Bernadette Landry, co-chair of the New Brunswick Health Coalition.

With information from Babatundé Lawani , by Nicolas Steinbach and the show La matinale

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