(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Acting Police Chief Sylvie Hauth has finally addressed the elephant in the room, out of town, out of control gang activity in the city.
Her spiel to Thunder Bay City Counsel comes not long after she was boasting about how Thunder Bay’s crime rate had dropped, even indicating the city was becoming safer.
Sources have indicated that Hauth had mentioned that it’s “not like guns are going off” just 3 days before the shooting happened at 288 Windsor, where an innocent family had bullets rip through there home in what was believed to be a mistargeted gang shooting.
Acting Chief Hauth has said that she has requested additional funding from the provincial government to help combat the gangs, human traffickers, drug dealers, and other organized crime that has become beyond ignorable in recent time.
Hauth finally publicly acknowledged that there has been a wave of southern Ontario gang members coming to Thunder Bay, and engaging in criminal activity.
The Acting Chief expressed concern surrounding the gang activity occurring in our city and indicated that the Thunder Bay Police Service is dedicated to eradicating their presence from our community.
Initial steps towards pushing the gangs out seem to be by increasing foot patrols in high-risk areas. Another move is working closely with other agencies to ensure out of town warrants are executed and arrests can be made.
Hauth’s presentation brought to light that 9 guns, over 1 million dollars cash along with drugs nearing a million dollars worth have been taken into the evidence locker as a result of 52 people from not only southern Ontario but western Canada being arrested by the Gangs and Guns unit over the last year.
Citizens don’t have to think back too far in recent memory to be made aware of the gang activity that has plagued our city. A couple weeks ago there was a 26.5 hour long standoff at the 288 Windsor Street complex, operated by Thunder Bay Housing in which a 36-year-old black male from Toronto bunkered down with a gun in unit 24, causing police to have to partially evacuate the area, and fly in Ontario Provincial Police from southern Ontario to assist with the issue.
We will link our standoff coverage at the bottom of this article.
A June police raid on a home on Ruttan Street landed police four guns and over $610,000 in cash. Charges were laid against two men as a result of that incident, one from Edmonton, and another from Hamilton.
We will link the article for the Ruttan bust at the end of this article.
March was no different, police brought in a force-wide record for the largest crack-cocaine bust, which landed four people from southern Ontario in jail along with one from Thunder Bay.
Hauth indicates that she realizes that everytime a bust happens, and people are locked up in jail, more arrive soon thereafter. Further, she also points out how lucrative the illicit drug market is in northern Ontario, prices here for street drugs are high compared to other parts of the country.
These gang members are setting up shop in peoples homes, “vulnerable people” Hauth refers to them as. What we know from anonymous sources is that they will seek out drug addicted people, and provide them with free drugs to use their home to sell out of.
Thunder Bay Housing is overwhelmed by the number of their tenants who have fallen prey to this scheme. Thunder Bay Housing has requested the courts to stop releasing people who have been arrested to Thunder Bay Housing addresses, but the courts have not listened it seems, as I see people being released to 288 Windsor specifically as recently as this weekend.
Hauth indicates that the Thunder Bay Police Service doesn’t have the resources to handle the state our city is in. She mentions how they have to prioritize where they focus, as Thunder Bay has a wide variety of issues that need police attention.
Thunder Bay Police Service has been working with local hotels as well as other businesses and teaching their staff how to recognize human trafficking and other criminal activity.
Hauth claims that the crime severity index, which has risen at a faster pace than the national and provincial scores, is partially because of the number of homicides which have occurred.
Thunder Bay has experienced two homicides in the last month, one in the back alley near Cummings Street, and one at a North Algoma home, bringing 2018’s total to 4.
Both of those articles will be linked at the bottom of this article.
Thunder Bay Police Service’s calls due to mental health have risen over 30% since 2014. It would be interesting to find out how those numbers fair going back to before the LPH was closed down.
In 2015, police received over 43,000 calls for service, which is up in 2017 by 7,000+ to past 50,000.
Hauth said that officers are frustrated when people who have been charged and are going through the legal system, end up released and re-offend.
Hauth seems to point the finger at the court system and mentions how people are often released and re-offend a short time after.
“…we are concerned that the justice system often does release and we see ourselves in a position to deal with the same individuals over and over.”
This presentation before city council comes 4 days after my article where I mentioned how the Acting Chief had failed to address these concerns publicly. That article linked below:
It also comes almost 3 months after our colleagues at the Thunder Bay Courthouse – Inside Edition ran their “Invasion of Thunder Bay by southern Ontario gangs” story, also linked below.
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Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.