Friday, August 5, 2011

If A Wire Dangles In The North End ..... Does Anyone Care?

There is a wire dangling off the lines in the back lane. It seems to have been cut off a house and left to dangle at the side of the lane, still attached to the overhead infrastructure. I had a closer look, and saw that it was a coax cable, still showing the tags to identify which house it came from.
As a good citizen, I called the police to notify them of a potential danger. I said I was not sure exactly which house it came from, but had a good idea. I said it was a safety danger because kids might get hurt around it. And I asked if they could take care of the issue.
This was the second time I called the police regarding a wire dangling from above in the back lane. The last time was about a week ago. And that wire was inside a dumpster. I could not tell what kind of wire it was, but said there were no sparks, smoke, odd odors (other than garbage) or fire associated with these wires. Last time the fire department was alerted and I was told to stay clear of the area.
That's not the way the conversation went today. Today, I was told the police may or may not drive by. I was told it might be a safety concern regarding children, but it is not really a police issue. After stating to the person on the other end of the non-emergency phone line that I highly suspect the landlord of doing this act, and saying it was the second time I called within a short time regarding this sort of incident, and stating that I would like something done about these landlords that seem to think it is ok to cut the line at the house and leave it dangling in the lane, I was told it was not really a police matter. I was asked how I know it was a landlord. My only answer was that there seems to be a pattern. New owner takes over house, work is being done on the house, wire ends up in or around the dumpster, cut from said house. That does not seem random at all to me. I even suggested the owner of the residence likely gets charged by the Utility Company, if they are called to disconnect the line. So, the owner likely just snips the wire themselves and leaves a hazard in the back lane, dangling from power lines.
What if some kid starts pulling on the wire? What if they decide to climb it? What if their actions pull a few other wires down in the process? To me, it seems like a safety issue, and really should be dealt with. I am not even sure the police will be contacting the appropriate company to deal with the coax cable, never mind talking to the owner of the residence about their actions.
I guess I will have to go back out there and see if I could make sense of the tags at the end of the wire, to see who I should call about this safety hazard in my back lane.
I think it is a Shaw cable line. But there is a 2 hr wait on the phone, and no option to report downed lines. Maybe I will try later today. I cannot stay on the line that long.
Further Update:
Got through to Shaw cable Saturday morning, reported wire dangling from infrastructure in back lane. Advised possible danger if children play with it or swing from it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two Females Assaulted in North End

While I was checking my lane today, I had a chat with one of my neighbours. I was told they called the police early this morning. Actually, the call went out at 6:34am, but the incident started at 6:32am. They called 911 because they saw five females fighting, then provided the location. It seems two females were getting beaten up by three others. They told the emergency dispatch to "send a car here" because there were two girls getting beaten up.
Eight to ten minutes later the police cruiser car arrived. As the car arrived, the culprits scattered. Well, actually they ran to a house across the street. One of the girls who was being beaten had also gotten away since the call was made to the police.
The police approached the male onlookers who called the police and asked if they were involved in the fight. They said they were not, and they were the ones who called. Then they added that the fight involved females. The response from the police was "way to be scholars, you guys are deputies". What the heck?? What kind of response is that for police to have when citizens call 911 regarding two females being assaulted?
Then, as the police were speaking with the witnesses, onlookers, concerned citizens who reported the assault, the three females doing the assault appeared from a nearby house. They were identified by these concerned citizens, and the police put the victim in the police car and left.
Again I say, what the heck!!!! Why did the police not talk to the girls identified as the assailants?
What is wrong with this picture? Why were the assailants not approached by the police? And why was the victim taken away in a police car?
These guys did the right thing. They called 911 to report an assault taking place on two women. When the police arrived, they were treated with suspicion and sarcasm. Even then, they just wanted to see some sort of justice being done. They wanted the police to take this issue seriously and do something about the three individuals they identified as the assailants. But that was ignored. All they saw was a victim being taken away.
Then I got to talking with my neighbours a little more. I mentioned my lastest encounter with 911, and the intoxicated gentleman who crashed through the bushes and later drove his truck into a fence, passing out at the wheel. The next thing that was said actually shocked me. He said he was witness to the truck coming and going. And he said he was witness to it crashing into the fence. He gave that information to the police, when they were in the lane.
The police received information from two seperate and unrelated parties regarding the drunk driver, and still nothing was done about it.
So, I wonder, how many more times will these citizens call the police to report assaults, or other crimes being committed? How many more times will they be treated with sarcasm and suspicion, and how many more times will the police fail to deal with the guilty parties? And why are 50 year old white folks and 20 something young guys across the lane having the same experiences with the police, when calling in crimes? What is really going on here?
All I can say is, I sure hope these neighbours of mine are there for me, if ever I need someone to call 911.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The North End: Cultural Overlay, Not A Mosaic

When I think of the North End, and it's population, I think back to its roots. The North End started as a blue collar neighbourhood. The less affluent immigrants into Winnipeg made the North End their home. They were hard working people, with respect for neighbour and community.
Some descendants of the first immigrants stayed, and raised their families in the area. The population increased from the outside as well. In the 1960's Selkirk Avenue was a very popular destination, with thriving businesses. Corner stores were everywhere, and so were some great restaurants. There were many different cultural flavours in the North End, offering great food at great prices. This could be said about the North End up until 10-15 years ago. Then things changed.
It is almost like a virus took hold in the area. Pieces of the North End began to look and feel unhealthy. Houses were no longer maintained. Yards began to look unkempt. Windows got broken, and streets felt unsafe. As time went on, the virus spread, further and further north. It is a virus of Gang Culture that is coating the North End with a residue that is hard to scrub off.
Residents of the area work hard to scrub the residue from their fences and property, in efforts to protect them from harm. But the residue grows back and must be constantly monitored.
The virus grows in strength as anti-bodies are developed in the form of laws protecting its actions and allowing it to thrive. The residue from this virus causes good people to flee, offering more space for the virus to take hold.
This gang culture that has taken hold in the North End is not a contributing culture of the community. It does not work along side the other cultures already established in the area, and does not offer complementary assets to the community. It is not part of a mosaic, rather a cultural overlay. It is a culture that takes what it wants at the expense of those around it, and damages anything in its path.
Until those in power actively work to dislodge this virus, it will continue to grow and spread, damaging everything it touches.
We need a government that will uphold the laws and by-laws in the North End that are already in place. We need a government that will change the laws that need to be changed in order to fight this virus. We need a goverment that will take actions to dislodge this virus. Do what needs to be done to iradicate this virus, this cultural overlay that is killing the North End. After all, isn't that your job?
At least that's the way I see it, from my house in the North End of Winnipeg.