Of course, it's always to the cops' advantage to make it look like crime is out of control. It helps to whip up a moral panic during contract talks. But the numbers tell a different story. Except for a slight increase (about 3 per cent) in 2001, overall crime has gone down on average by more than 5 per cent each of the last four years. Yep. We're going to hell in a handbasket.
There were actually 1,877,477 calls for service last year. This is one of those stats the police union likes to toss out to show how overworked cops are. About half, though, are actually non-emergency calls. Routine, in other words.
Well, not exactly. In real numbers, we're talking 121 fewer cops in 2001 compared to 2000, out of a total uniform strength of 5,028. The problem is more one of deployment: because of seniority and in-lieu time for overtime, the ranks are thinned by vacation scheduling when police are needed most, in the summer.
It's certainly not because they were underpaid, but mostly because the majority live in the 905 and want to work closer to home. All the more reason to establish, as in most U.S. jurisdictions, a policy requiring T.O. cops to live in the city.
Full marks to the spin doctor who came up with this one. But certainly, "enhanced real estate values" are the least we should expect in return for the higher property taxes we've been paying to support the ever-ballooning police budget.
You'll notice that this claim is not in big, bold type. That's because it's a crock. While other city departments have been forced by council to cut to the bone, the cops have been rewarded with budget increases every year since god knows when. A real kick in the teeth when you consider that at more than $603 million last year -- and more than 90 per cent of that goes for salaries and benefits -- the cop budget routinely accounts for more than 30 per cent of the entire city budget.
Could have fooled us. Guess this ad is all a joke. If the union's concern is really public safety, then why the threats not to report for duty or respond to emergencies if they don't get the pay hikes they want? And here we thought cops were public servants. How silly.
Indeed. Call the mayor and tell him not to shortchange city inside and outside workers (who are also negotiating contracts) and risk a city-wide services strike. Oops. Too late. The cops already got what they want.
We do, and we will -- when those representing the front line are more honest with the taxpayers who pay their salaries.Looks like the cop union got the pay hike it wanted from the police services board this week 11 per cent over three years. It sure pays to advertise. Take this full-page promo in the recent Saturday papers. We suggest you read the fine print.