Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jul 2007
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2007 The Windsor Star
Author: Trevor Wilhelm, Windsor Star


Statistics Say Windsor Is a Safer City, but at Least One Activist Is

Don't tell Bill Iggulden crime is down in his neighbourhood.

Police released statistics Wednesday showing Windsor is similar to the
rest of the country, with an overall decline in crime rates. But in
the Drouillard Road area, Iggulden's home for 33 years, he said the
drug dealers, addicts, prostitutes and violence are still prevalent on
the often rough and tumble streets.

"In a way, they control the neighbourhood, the bad ones," said
Iggulden, 49, a security guard who also helps out at a methadone
clinic and volunteers with New Song Church. "There've been stabbings,
there's been beatings, murders."

Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that Canada's crime rate dropped
another three per cent last year, to its lowest point in 25 years.
Windsor's crime rate ranked 10th among 18 cities with populations
between 100,000 and 499,999. Our city had 6,754 Criminal Code
violations per 100,000 people.

Windsor police also said Wednesday that crime here was down 12 per
cent in the first half of 2007 compared to last year.

But some crimes were on the rise, including drug offences, which
increased from 28 in June 2006 to 53 last month. There were 294 drug
charges in the first half of 2007, compared to 261 for the same period
last year.

Where there are drugs, said Staff Sgt. Ed McNorton, you'll often find

"We're seeing it more frequently," he said. "That combination is a
deadly one. It is a great concern to us."

McNorton said the police service's recently restructured guns and
drugs unit is having success. He pointed to an arrest Wednesday night
on Tecumseh Road East, where police seized a package with $17,000 in
cash, 14 packages of suspected cocaine and a loaded handgun.

"We're picking up guns on a regular basis."

Drugs also bring prostitution into neighbourhoods, he said. Police
have laid 80 prostitution charges this year, including 10 last month.

Some of the worst areas have been Wyandotte Street West and Drouillard
Road, he said, and police are battling the problem year-round. A lot
of the fight is complaint driven, with people calling police after
seeing the hookers in their neighbourhoods.

"We send undercover officers into those areas," he said. "People don't
want that around their neighbourhood."

Count Iggulden among them.

"The cops have been cleaning it up," he said. "But it hasn't really
changed. It quiets down, then it comes back again. They get banned
from the area for a period of time, then they come back. It's
frustrating. After a while it gets routine. You expect it to happen.
What else can we do?"

Iggulden, part of a group trying to clean up Drouillard, said he often
spends his nights walking the area picking up trash and whatever else
he finds. At the park, among the wrappers and beer bottles, there are
often needles.

"I find so many," said Iggulden, who lives above a Drouillard bar.
"It's all over, drugs."

Prostitution isn't the only byproduct of neighbourhood drug use, he

"They beat each other up. They're running, chasing each other with
baseball bats. There's guys pulling knives."

A week ago, he said a fight broke out at a church dinner between a
pair of drug addicts.

But people in other neighbourhoods describe different lives, where
crime does seem to be declining.

In Walkerville, Kelly Shepherd is so unconcerned with crime that she
lets her four-year-old daughter play by herself in the

"She gets to wander because there are good neighbours," Shepherd, 27,
said from her front porch while her daughter played nearby. "Everyone
watches out for everyone's kids."

She said someone once broke into her car, and she is concerned enough
about crime that her house has an alarm. But nothing has happened in
the 18 months that she's lived here to make her afraid to walk alone
at night or fear for her daughter's safety.

"Nothing big, so far." 
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