Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive June 8, 2015)

‘Disrespectful and Hurtful’


By Bob Cooper

One of the most effective tactics used by the police to prevent crime has always been a highly visible uniformed presence in the community, being aware of active criminals and suspicious characters on your beat, and stopping and checking them whenever you can.  This practice goes by various names in various jurisdictions.  We used to call them ‘street checks’, in New York it’s Stop and Frisk while in Toronto they call it ‘carding’.  In all cases the suspect’s personal information is recorded on a card which is later entered into a police database.  

It’s the essence of pro-active policing which has been deterring and solving crime and keeping neighborhoods safe since Robert Peel set up the London Met in 1829.  It lets criminals know that the police are keeping an eye on them.  In many cases each day these contacts lead to arrests on outstanding warrants or searches that turn up guns and other weapons, drugs, or stolen property.  It also provides a list of potential suspects for detectives investigating a crime that occurred in a certain area on a certain date and time.  Contrary to some news reports it’s not done at random.  Its usefulness to law enforcement is beyond question. But we live in interesting times. 

Toronto’s mayor John Tory is calling for an end to ‘carding’ describing it as “illegitimate, disrespectful, and hurtful”.  Sorry, I just have to brush some tears from the keyboard here.   He claims that it has “eroded the public trust” because young black males claim they’re getting checked at a disproportionate rate.  No empirical evidence or studies are offered because none are required.  When lefty groups scream racism the default response of gutless politicians is to knuckle under.  Immediately. 

A couple of months ago the mayor was backing the police and saying that ‘carding’ should be retained with certain ‘bias-free’ provisions.  Now he’s turned on them, an action he’s certain to regret, but not nearly as much as those living in certain parts of Toronto.  To see what happens in cities where pro-active policing is discouraged and police morale is low, look no further than New York or Baltimore.  Since Mayor De Blasio virtually eliminated Stop and Frisk?  Murder is up 20%.  In Baltimore murders are through the roof.  De Blasio described it as an ‘uptick’ prompting New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin to dare His Honor to attend a funeral and tell the parents that their child died from an ‘uptick’ (It’s time to turn Bill Bratton loose).  

The mayor’s chief ally in this campaign is Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee.  Wikpedia describes Mr. Mukherjee as having “built a sound professional reputation as a human rights and equity advocate, community organizer and race relations consultant” since arriving in Canada in 1971.  In other words, a professional grievance monger who will never, ever be satisfied.

Toronto’s new Police Chief Mark Saunders – who, unlike the mayor, Mr. Mukherjee, or much of the mainstream media (with the notable exception of Christie Blatchford Epiphanies on playing the cards right), knows what he’s talking about, defends ‘carding’ and does so very effectively (Mark Saunders working to overcome 'carding' criticism).  His take on his critics is spot on as well.  He’s in a tough spot but I like what I’m hearing about him so far and I wish him luck.  Should his term end prematurely he’s still got his pension and he’ll go out a hero as opposed to the jellyfish he works for.    

The mayor said police should use other tactics which balance the need for community safety with individuals' rights, but when questioned, he did not offer specifics.  No surprise there, you can’t offer what you don’t have.  He went on to say that he wants to start over with a “clean slate”.


The only thing recorded on that slate will be the names of those murdered in the spirit of political correctness and most of those will be in red ink.

Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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