Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Brutal assault in Whalley
Freddy posted a link to an article that was on the front page of today’s Vancouver Province about the brutal assault of a homeless woman in Whalley. The article raised many concerns about how the police didn’t contact the media or public about the assault and implied it was because she was poor.
Although I agree that is a possibility and a concern, there are several factors that should in all fairness be discussed. When I saw the article in today’s paper I was trying to find out if this was the same brutal assault that I had heard about and mentioned but didn’t see anything in the news about it. I did express the concern at the time how a brutal rape could happen in a city centre and no word in the local press.
I noticed that the Province did report a brutal assault that may have been a rape on December 5th. Both news reports claim the assault happened on December 2nd so I’m assuming it’s the same one. So my first question is, how did the Province hear about it to report it on the 5th? They quoted statements by the police so it doesn’t appear the police were hiding anything.
My second question is, how much do we expect the police to tell the public about crime through the media? Most of us agree when a shooting ends in a fatality, the public should know about it. Some have expressed concerns that shootings occur that we often don’t hear about if there hasn’t been a fatality. Most of us would agree, the public should be notified of all shootings.
Rape is another serious violent crime that effects public safety. Do we expect the police to send a press release out about every rape? That would be problematic regarding the privacy trauma. Yet if a rapist is lose, that does effect public safety. Obviously, asking the police to report every car theft and brak in to the media would be impractical. Every assault? Significant assaults? It’s a little bit problematic but I do think a brutal rape in a city centre should be made public.
Which brings us to the primary problem – the level of violent crime in out community that is often tied to drugs. I will point out that the police didn’t assault this woman. Using the police as a source to vent displaced aggression isn’t going to solve the problem. We have every right to be angry about such a brutal assault. That anger should be directed at whoever committed the crime. Basically I think we all can agree that crime should be reported and violent crime needs to be addressed.