Saskatoon

Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill blames social problems for crime stats

Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill says the results from a recent Statistics Canada report can be tracked back to addictions and poverty.

Weighill says addictions, poverty must be addressed

Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill says new Statistics Canada numbers can be linked back to addiction and poverty. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

Saskatoon Police Chief Clive Weighill says the results from a recent report can be tracked back to addictions and poverty.

Statistics Canada reported yesterday that the Saskatoon crime rate led all Canadian cities last year. The city also topped the list for the crime severity index, a tool used to measure offenses by length of sentences handed down in court.

Speaking to Saskatoon Morning host Leisha Grebinski, Weighill said this is not a simple issue.

"As citizens in the city, I think we have to realize this is a long-term issue that we've got to work on," he said. "It's not going to be solved overnight. We've got to understand that people do need help in our community."

The police force is trying to make progress in this area. It's copying a program from Prince Albert called the Hub, where police, social services and other government agencies work together to help high-risk people and families.

"It's just like in most cities," he said. "It's a very small percentage of people that cause most of the crime."

While poverty continues to be a significant problem, Weighill said the overall crime picture in Saskatoon is improving.

"We have come down in crime by about 40 per cent over the past decade," he said. "It's just been a small trend that's changed here in the past couple of years."

Despite the numbers, Weighill believes Saskatoon is a safe community.

"I think that people that live in Saskatoon have a feel for the city," he said. "I know from my own experience and seeing the crime stats that happen here, Saskatoon is a very safe place,"

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