Mayor Ryan Bater took CTV’s W5 to task for its documentary about North Battleford crime at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
In particular, he raged over CTV’s depiction of the “eight individuals” responsible for 38 per cent of the calls for service within the downtown core.
Those statistics were mentioned by Insp. John Sutherland in the documentary during Sutherland’s interview with CTV’s Avery Haines.
Bater took issue with how that statement was then misreported in the story.
“That [statement] was interpreted by the reporter to mean that eight individuals are responsible for 38 per cent of all crime in the entire city, and that’s really inaccurate. That’s not what he had meant, nor what he had said.”
Instead, the 38 per cent referred only to “calls for service” in the downtown core.
Bater noted the individuals responsible for the high percentage of calls for service downtown “tend to be public intoxication, nuisance, mischief, those kinds of things,” he said.
The reason Sutherland has always brought it up, Bater said, was to highlight that the RCMP were spending extensive time with these individuals and more was needed to address the underlying issues, such as addictions and mental illness.
“There are service delivery agencies and other levels of government, other orders of government, specifically provincial and federal agencies, who are responsible for providing services to address those needs, and they are not necessarily being met in this community,” said Bater.
Instead, it is RCMP and City resources that are being used.
That’s what Sutherland had really meant, Bater insisted, not that eight people were responsible for 38 per cent of all crime in the city.
Bater further said that it was “really irresponsible for it to have been framed that way,” and an “insult to people’s intelligence” for it to have been done so.
Bater concluded by saying he had wanted to “clear the air” in public about it.
Councillor Len Taylor posed a question to Bater asking if it was his understanding that those 38 per cent of calls for service “likely do not fit on the Crime Severity Index that had brought W5 to our community in the first place.”
That was his own understanding, Bater responded, based on what Sutherland has cited before.
“It’s less about the statistics, and more about the resources that are used to serve these individuals,” said Bater.
“That’s something that is of concern to us, because those are policing resources and enforcement resources that could be used on higher levels of crime.”