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“In the last two years, we had numbers as high as six-in-10 shootings in Calgary could be linked back to organized crime. This year, the last number I saw was about 16 per cent, so less than two-in-10. But that’s in the context of the overall number of shootings have gone up, so I think it’s indicative of a different driver.”
Pandemic, opioid crisis taking toll
Neufeld described 2020 as a challenging year for CPS, with constant adjustments needed as the COVID-19 crisis swept the city.
Widespread restrictions have affected the city’s crime trends. The chief said he fears the effect will carry over to 2021, especially with daily COVID-19 case figures still trending much higher than they did during the first wave.
“I am concerned about the mental-health hangover of the pandemic, whenever it ends,” Neufeld said.
“We’re feeling all now like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but COVID-19 will still be with us for a while into 2021 and we’ll have to continue to manage those impacts and support Calgarians and our own police service through that.”
Calgary police commission chair Bonita Croft said the civilian oversight body is proud of how CPS “stepped up” as it faced new challenges in 2020.
“Nobody could have predicted what has happened with COVID-19 during the past year,” she said.
“The Calgary Police Service, more than most of us, have had to pivot while adapting to what it needed to do differently during the pandemic . . . while taking on even more risks to themselves and risks to their own families.”