The government has been adamant that they are getting tough on crime and insisting that the rule of law will reign in Alberta. Efforts to tackle addictions head-on and investments directed towards combating human trafficking suggest that they are at least attempting to keep their word.
We also saw Premier Smith stepping in to direct Calgary authorities, including wildly unpopular progressive mayor and former defund the police enthusiast Jyoti Gondek, to hire police and make the city's downtown safe again.
While these efforts are laudable, and the Premier, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis, and Justice Minister Mikey Amery have all publicly affirmed that the days of lawlessness and arbitrary free passes and non-prosecutions are over, one area of criminality seems to be running rampant.
It’s no secret that vehicle theft is on the rise, with an 18.7% increase in automobile thefts in Calgary in 2022, with other cities in the country like Toronto seeing such thefts increasing by over 45%. This is not uncommon during times of economic difficulty, but it does become troubling when automobile thefts, and more specifically catalytic convertor thefts are happening more or less in the open with authorities doing little more than posting cautionary signs.
While violent crimes and safety are clearly principal concerns, lawlessness, and the fear that you could park your vehicle somewhere only to return to missing rims or a cut out catalytic converter, or worse still no car at all, well those things simply have no place in city like Calgary, especially at the rates we are seeing.
I was fortunate to be joined by Eric Grand-Maison, owner of Big House Converters, a local law-abiding automotive metal recycler who has been cooperating with police in an effort to address the rampant criminality within this industry, in order to garner his unique insight into the underworld of illegal automobile recycling.
We discussed the scale of the issue and the ins and outs of the catalytic theft industry and delved into the struggles shops like his who follow the rules face when competing with businesses willing to recycle stolen goods. We also talked about the lack of direct action from authorities.
Eric also showed us around some of the industrial areas where much of these stolen converters wind up. We have reached out to Calgary Police Services and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services Mike Ellis requesting comments on the matter, and those statements will be made available to you as soon as we have them.
We are covering stories about the breakdown of order and the descent into chaos resulting from soft on crime law enforcement and safe supply distribution in cities across Canada at FixOurCities.com.