200 attend Yellowknife public safety meeting
RCMP supports relaunching Citizens on Patrol program
Close to 200 people packed into Northern United Place in Yellowknife for a meeting on public safety Thursday night.
It was organized by the territorial departments of Justice and Health, the RCMP, and the City of Yellowknife.
"I am here tonight because a month ago I was sexually molested on the Frame Lake Trail,” said Deanna Leonard.
“If we want to solve the problem with Frame Lake Trail we need to pitch in and use the trail. We need to make it a public place and we need to not be afraid."
RCMP Insp. Frank Gallagher said there have been four reported sexual assaults on the trail in the last two years three years before that there were none.
He says that since about 2006, there have been about 70 reported sexual assaults in the city every year.
But people's safety concerns didn't just centre around the five sexual assaults that were reported since July. Problems with drug and alcohol addiction in the downtown were also raised.
As far as finding solutions for the on-going problems in the city, some suggested the city should have its own police force separate from the RCMP.
Gallagher committed to helping re-launch the city’s Citizens on Patrol program, which began in 2004 and dissolved around 2010.
"It was here years ago and it was quite successful,” he said. “Unfortunately as with any other programs that we were dealing with volunteers, sometimes one or two leave and it goes downhill. But we are certainly willing to revamp that."
Mayor Mark Heyck said the city has been a big supporter of the patrol program in the past and would be willing to support it going forward.