Volume 92, Issue 94

Thursday, March 25, 1999


NEWS

Recommendations hope to slice crime

Psychotherapy guidelines welcomed

Western's phone system to move into the 21st century

Hill cleared path for future campus issues

Quickies

Caught on campus

Recommendations hope to slice crime



By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

In what has turned out to be a violent year in London, some concerned community members are taking steps to make criminals think twice about using knives as weapons.

The Coordinating Committee for Community Safety will present their proposed legal amendments to the London police services board in a meeting today at London police headquarters. The changes centre around stiffer penalties for the criminal use of knives.

"We're presenting legislative changes, specifically to the Criminal Code and where it stands on the use of knives," said Mandy Alvaro, co-chair of CCCS.

"To have the impact, changes need to be made to legislation," she added.

David Tennant, also co-chair of CCCS, said the committee has put many hours into finding ways to improve public safety. "The legal team has done extensive research and given this a lot of thought," he said, adding the work began in January when the first public forum on safety was held.

Tennant called for more severe consequences to the criminal use of a knife, saying existing laws do not pose strong enough penalties.

Alvaro, who is also a spokesperson for Friends Against Sudden Endings, an awareness campaign founded in memory of Michael Goldie-Ryder, the victim of a fatal downtown stabbing, said FASE has joined forces with CCCS in effort to raise awareness through education.

She added today's meeting would also highlight the positive influence of other awareness campaigns such as Mothers Against Drinking and Driving.

Robert Runciman, solicitor general and minister of correctional services, will also make an appearance at the meeting to present a cheque to the Partners in Community Safety initiative, a program designed to increase the number of police officers in Ontario.

John Hamilton, spokesperson for the solicitor general, said the cheque, in the amount of $28,845, will be put towards an investment in front-line policing. He added the solicitor general's office has contributed over $250,000 to the Partners in Community Safety program over the last five years.

London police Chief Al Gramolini said the money has had an immense impact on the London police. "Between the province and the city, we've added five extra full-time officers," he said, adding police divisions such as the street crime and drug enforcement unit have received boosts.

Gramolini added he too thought existing laws for knife attacks are not doing enough to deter crime. "Obviously, the existing penalties are not having an effect," he said.

Anne Marie DiCicco, deputy mayor for the City of London, said she would be on hand at today's meeting to listen to the proposals and decide if they will be endorsed. "Hopefully, they'll be looking for support at the federal level on the Criminal Code's laws on carrying knives," she said.

DiCicco added if the proposed amendments are endorsed, she would bring them closer to legislation by getting more input at the national level. "That's an issue I'll be taking to the Big City Mayor's Conference at the end of April in Saskatoon," she said.


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Copyright The Gazette 1999