Save the children

Police chief Julian Fantino thinks that 70 percent of all crimes are connected to drugs, and that society’s problems can be solved by saving young people.

“I think that a strategic focus – at least for an experiment if nothing else – must be ensuring children are born into healthy environments, nurturing families, and that they be supported every step of the way to give them a half decent chance of succeeding. I think that that’s where the magic pill is.

“But I don’t think we’ve focussed on this very significant resource that can bail us out of all of this nonsense that’s going on in our communities,” said Fantino at an Apr 18 community meeting for business owners and residents of 52 Division.

The consultation was one of a series he’s conducting throughout the city.

The chief said “there is a malaise in this society,” where drugs and violence are only the symptoms.

Although chief Fantino displayed a businesslike demeanor throughout the question and answer session, he was most animated when speaking about how society could change for the better. “We need to do an awful lot more with our young people, so that our children are born into healthy environments.”

Fantino’s most famous attempt to save children was London’s anti kiddie-porn campaign, Project Guardian, in which his officers targeted gay men paying for sex with hustlers.

He has also said that violent video games should be banned.

Fantino wants to combat drugs by creating change within the criminal justice system. “We need a speedier court system,” he says, because “real sentencing is something that is badly need for the professional criminal element. When all is said and done we need the tools and support. We need to be freed up from the bureaucracy that hinders everything we do.

“Handcuff my hands behind by back and I’ll wander around and flounder. We are dealing with the symptoms, and I’d like to see solutions that go to the heart of the problem.”

Fantino also wants to reduce the number of traffic fatalities (which was almost double the number of Toronto homicides in 1999), stop the Internet trafficking of child pornography, crack down on raves and improve the city’s physical appearance.

“We look at the graffiti situation in this city. This is the action of criminals. It is a criminal act. We need to get the community to get the graffiti down.”

He is conducting a 90 day review of the force. He took the Toronto job on Mar 6

The review will consider whether a special group of police should address the concerns of gay people anywhere in Toronto, and not just in the Church and Wellesley area.

“We are all equally concerned about the same things, about living and working in a safe environment, with sensitivity to issues of that community,” said Fantino.

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