Saskatoon considers limits to pawn shops
Some people in Saskatoon are blaming pawn shops for the high crime rate in the city's low income areas.
Tuesday night, a city committee presented a proposal to block the establishment of new shops.
But some people say that won't be enough.
Bill Bernard lives in Riversdale, a neighbourhood which contains 13 of Saskatoon's 18 pawn shops. "I'm afraid that the city proposals are only working at appearances," says Bernard.
"Restricting the distance between pawn shops and restricting the number of pawn shops is not going to change the basic problem."
In addition to the restrictions, Bernard says existing pawn shops in the city must be more tightly regulated.
Many people view the stores as places for thieves to cash in their stolen goods. But pawn shop owner Trent Seidel says that perception is wrong, and he resents it. "It's a legitimate business and it meets the needs of certain customers that financially can use this, and use it often."
Seidel says people truly in need of cash benefit from having a choice of pawn shops to turn to. "If somebody brings in an article to me and maybe I'm unable to take that VCR because I have a whole bunch of them, well he can go down the street to another pawn shop."
Unlike Regina and many other cities across the country, Saskatoon does not have a computerized pawn shop registry. Those systems quickly flag police when a stolen item shows up in a pawn shop.
Saskatoon police say they can't afford the high-tech system.