A Problem In Our Backyards
Last year, Calgary opened its first legalized drug injection site. And the results have been predictable.
A new report from the Calgary Police Service has shown an explosion in crime in the Beltline area - and the statistics are staggering:
- A 45% increase in reported break and enters.
- A 47% increase in reported violent crime.
- And a mind-boggling 276% increase in drug-related police calls.
It paints a picture of a community under assault by drug addicts whose lawlessness is turning entire neighborhoods into crime zones.
And nobody should have been surprised.
Looking at other jurisdictions who have opened up legalized drug injection sites, the exact same thing happened.
The streets in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are strewn with used needles. Drug addicts are slumped on every corner and accost pedestrians as they walk by. Drug dealers are making a fortune off of the pain and suffering of others and pocketing millions in the process.
Now Calgary is paying the exact same price.
And the site has failed to achieve what it was intended to do.
When the site was first proposed, it was designed to help address the opioid crisis that is eating its way through Calgary. But the drug of choice for those visiting the drug injection site isn't opioids like Fentanyl - it's Methamphetamine.
Meth addicts are now the most frequent users of the Sheldon Chumir site, and the used needles lying on the streets are mostly from Heroin.
Meanwhile, Alberta's Fentanyl crisis continues unabated.
The Beltline community has worked hard to become a place where families and working professionals call home. Now, that revitalization has been threatened by this dangerous social experiment that has caused a dramatic rise in crime and violence.
As a Beltline resident, Sun columnist Rick Bell has seen these problems firsthand, and how many politicians have their blinders on about the negative impacts of drug injection sites.
City Council clearly didn't do its homework before hastily approving a drug site in the heart of the Beltline, and now Calgary families and businesses are paying the price.
It's time for the City to get serious about Calgary's drug problem, and take real action to help Beltline deal with the problem that the City foisted upon them.