During the past week we, the ethnic media, had the pleasure of meeting two of our police chiefs, Toronto Police Service Chief Bill Blair and York Regional Police Chief Armand LaBarge.
York Region, with a population of 900,000, about one sixth of Toronto (equal to the number Estonians in Estonia), has about one sixth the population of Toronto, fits like a cap over the top of Toronto, is the police force of Jõekääru and of course our political Minister the Honourable Peter Van Loan.
Toronto on the other hand has Esto House, Ehatare/Eesti Kodu and Tartu College. Three Estonian nations within Canada's biggest city.
Some questions were posed to Chief Blair. One was about gun control. Why is it that the more restrictions that are applied to legal gun ownership, the more illegal gun usage, like home invasions follows?
"Half of the handguns used in crime used to be stolen from the homes of licensed owners, now its only 24%," said Chief Blair. He added,"The rest, of course, come from the US."
A follow up to the original question was, "How many of those handguns are smuggled through native reservations ?"
Chief Blair smiled,"We're investigating all possibilities."
"With home invasions, however, automobiles have become virtually impossible to steal without a key so thieves need to break into a house to retrieve the key so they can steal the car," said Chief Blair.
Chief LaBarge supports the gun registry, as faulty as it is. He finds it useful for police officers handling calls like domestic violence to know if there are weapons in the house. Though there was always a handgun registry there was never one for rifles before.
Chief LaBarge explained the "diversity" (ethnicity) rate in York Region is up to 35%, 55% in Markham. The police membership is up to 13%, from 6% in 2001.
The number one policing problem in York Region, according to Chief LaBarge, is traffic related. Speeding, ignoring signals, drunk driving and street racing are infractions that keep the police busy.
A sizeable concern, reaching from Scarborough northward, is the proliferation of illegal marijuana grow-ops and crystal meth labs, set up in mainly large new houses, which pollute the dwellings — and result in very small punishment for their operators after the judicial process, pointed out Chief LaBarge.
The answers from the chiefs were more significant when considering what was not mentioned more often than what actually was.
Police chiefs speak