CORNWALL, Ontario – Coun. Claude McIntosh openly disagreed with Cornwall police chief Dan Parkinson Friday about a reduction in the number of youths using drugs, claiming the city’s top cop might be wrong.
Parkinson was before the city’s budget committee expounding on the services provided by his police force and had pointed out that there has been a general decline in the local crime rate.
The total number of property crimes was down 25.1 per cent last year compared to 2013 dropping from 1,604 incidents to 1,202. Violent crimes have dropped as well, from 780 to 716, a difference of 8.2 per cent.
When it comes to drug crimes there was a drop to 93 from 101 – a difference of nearly eight per cent.
His statistics also suggest that from 2004 to 2013 there has been a 48 per cent decline in youth drug offences – which is where McIntosh drew the line.
“I think the illegal drug business is alive and well in this community,” said McIntosh. “Drugs are easily purchased at school.”
The chief, though, was having none of it.
Parkinson suggested youth drug offences are dropping, and when prodded by McIntosh suggested that fewer drugs were being sold in Cornwall to young people.
“Perhaps you’re looking in the wrong places,” he said. “We’re talking about youth drug offences here – 18 and younger.”
Cornwall finds itself in a situation where there are actually fewer youth running the streets. According to statistics from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit the number of youth aged five to nine (8.5 per cent), 10 to 14 (21.4 per cent) and 15 to 19 (4.4 per cent) decreased between 2006 and 2011.
Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy appeared to side with the chief, suggesting that while drugs are available for purchase in Cornwall if one wishes to indulge in such a practice, “maybe they’re just not being indulged as much as they were.”
In an interview later McIntosh said he’s hearing from students and teachers who tell him youth are still very much using narcotics.
“When you’re just a three-man street crime unit, it’s hard to get a handle on it,” he said. “I don’t think drug dealers are leaving town because there’s no business here.
“It’s like that in any community.”