That simple message came from Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans, who was speaking to more than 100 people gathered at the Mississaugua Golf and Country Club this afternoon for Safe City Mississauga’s 2013 Justice Luncheon.
Evans said some people have the wrong impression that, because crime is declining, there’s no need for a significant police presence in Peel.
“I’m here to tell you that’s not true. Cops count,” said Evans.
Information provided by organizers of the luncheon show the 2011 crime index for Mississauga was 2,736 incidents per 100,000 people. That’s a four per cent decrease from 2010.
The chief spoke about the important work front-line officers do on a daily basis. She listed a number of, at first, routine traffic stops by police that uncovered large amounts of drugs, guns and other illegal acts.
She talked about a recent traffic stop that found a homicide suspect wanted in another jurisdiction. Peel officers arrested the suspect and sent them back to where they were wanted.
Evans also spoke about police stopping and arresting a visitor from the United States who was in the process of getting on Hwy. 403 after a cyclist was struck and hurt. An officer spotted the damaged vehicle and pulled it over.
Evans said further investigation determined the vehicle was involved in the hit-and-run.
“If they had got onto Hwy. 403, they would have been able to make good their escape,” said Evans.
Another stop uncovered about $15,000 worth of crack cocaine and marijuana and $100,000 cash. There were other stories about good police work by uniformed officers stopping credit card fraud, sexual assaults against a 13-year-old girl, grow ops and drunk drivers.
Likely the most frightening for those in attendance were stories about guns. Evans talked about getting a sawed-off shotgun, a fully-loaded 9mm handgun and a machine gun off the streets thanks to the work of her officers.
Last year, Peel officers laid 76,000 charges under the Highway Traffic Act and responded to more than 380,000 9-1-1 calls. They also responded to some 2,000 cases of missing persons and more than 3,800 calls involving those with mental health issues.
“All of these results are because of constables on patrol every day,” said Evans, who let the crowd know the term “cop” is actually an acronym for constables on patrol. “These officers keep our communities safe.”
While Evans asserted crime is decreasing, she wouldn’t allow police to take all the credit. Community organizations, such as Safe City Mississauga, play an extremely valuable role in keeping communities safe, she noted.
“Crime is decreasing because of the efforts of so many in the community,” said Evans. “We need to keep working together.”
Teresa Burgess-Ogilvie, executive director of Safe City Mississauga, concurred.
“It takes our local neighbourhood leaders working together with police to build even stronger community relationships for a crime-free Mississauga,” said Burgess-Ogilvie.
The luncheon doubled as a fundraiser, with more than $7,000 raised in support of Safe City Mississauga. The money will be used for the organization’s various programs, including a peer mentoring program for elementary students, high school student safety programs, Neighbourhood Watch, an anti-vandalism initiative for elementary school students and safety strategies and techniques for women.
Reporter: Chris Clay
Mississauga News April 19, 2013