Pubdate: Wed, 29 Nov 2006
Source: Slave River Journal (CN NT)
Copyright: 2006 The Slave River Journal


Scan - it's a word which connotates watching. But in the NWT SCAN now
means the Safer Communities And Neighbourhoods legislation. Will the
new act make Northern neighbours friends or foes?

The act is being looked at by the GWNT. It's new piece of legislation
that would give community residents direct power. It is supposed to
keep the peace and safety of neighbourhoods via complaints and
investigations - coming from next door.


There are many positives to SCAN. It will give more power to the
people instead of waiting for officials to do something. If you
suspect a crack house on your block, you can call investigators and
ask them to act on your suspicion.

Not having proof of illegal activities means people don't have to put
their lives on the line to collect information themselves. They can
simply leave getting the evidence to the investigators. Authorities
need only be convinced of wrongdoing in order to act. The complete
process is anonymous and you don't have to face the supposed

SCAN lets communities take responsibility for themselves. It gives
everyone the chance to step up and right the wrongs in their town.
These days too many people slink away and turn a blind eye to trouble.
Perhaps they will learn respect if they know others are watching them?

We hear all the time that police are overworked. SCAN will help law
enforcement with day-to-day duties. More eyes watching and more voices
to tip authorities off about crime will definitely aid in RCMP work.

Drug crimes may also be cut in half if SCAN is in place. Crack houses
and the like could be shut down cold under the legislation. A
Community Safety Order (CSO), which is a legally binding court order,
can either order the closure of a property or order someone to leave a
particular community for a set period of time.

Overall, the value of SCAN would be to help close down nefarious
doings in residential dwellings without someone having to put his or
her life on the line. SCAN's power draws from the community, not law


While SCAN can be considered a positive move for Northern communities,
there are many negatives forming in the possible new legislation. With
SCAN, town residents may become paranoid and turn neighbour against

Had a spat with the man next door? If he turns out to be someone who
carries a vendetta, he could possible call investigators and have you
looked into on trumped up charges. He'll also get away with it because
the process is completely anonymous. You won't be able to face the

SCAN will only serve to ruin lives. Are civil liberties being eroded
with this act? How can we protect ourselves against governments and
others if we're allowed to tattle-tale on any little thing without

The legislation may work in larger urban centres such as Yellowknife
where there are drug houses and other properties being used for
criminal activity. But in places such as Fort Smith and Fort Simpson,
SCAN will only threaten or break-up close ties and links.

SCAN abuses power and interferes with the lives of its citizens. And
that's just not neighbourly.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek