A continuing education in organized crime
May 5, 2022
By Brittani Schroeder
I like to consider myself a lifelong learner, and in the world of law enforcement, it’s necessary. The world is constantly changing around us—new laws are put in place, old laws and by-laws are updated or removed—and what you knew yesterday could be completely wrong tomorrow.
When looking at organized crime, members of law enforcement need to remain agile and adaptable, because that is what these illegal enterprises are doing. Take, for example, the pandemic: when the international land borders closed, organized crime groups adapted to find ways to bring illicit contraband into Canada. These groups can think on their feet and shift their activities to continue making money, no matter what.
It is imperative that law enforcement keep up to date on the actions of organized crime groups. From their public sector infiltration, private sector involvement and technological capabilities, to their use of violence, criminal enterprise and specialized skills.
The work that officers are doing in the community, providing opportunities for social intervention and conducting community outreach, is of the utmost importance. Preventing youths from being involved in gang violence by providing proper education and positive opportunities is something that many neighbourhood community officers are tasked with every day. With the majority of adults owning a smartphone, using social media to educate the public on the activities of organized crime groups, and showing the effects of organized crime, can raise awareness in a quick and efficient manner.
While working on this month’s cover story, I spoke with several members of the RCMP, OPP and Toronto Police Service to learn about what is currently happening in Canada when dealing with organized crime. The OPP also shares some helpful tips for all members of law enforcement who are working to combat organized crime, including the training opportunities to look out for. To read this the full story, see page 10.
It is imperative that law enforcement keep up to date on the actions of organized crime groups.
Another topic I wanted to delve into this month was the trends that police are seeing in their communities. Being able to recognize trends of criminality, intercept and stop these activities before they begin is important for all members of law enforcement, in every area of the job. When I posed the question of “What trends are you seeing in your community?” to officers, a large number were seeing a rise in vehicle thefts. York Regional Police’s Supt. Duncan MacIntyre has shared an article that analyzes the rates of auto thefts across Ontario since 2019, questioning what the trend could mean and showing results from initiatives targeting theft groups. You can read the full report on page 18.
An additional trend in policing that we are looking at in this issue is the emerging municipal approach to dealing with parking and by-law infractions in the community. The use of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) has grown steadily and is an alternative to issuing “tickets” to the public. The goal is to ultimately deal with these infractions in a manner that is fair, effective and efficient. You can learn more on page 26.
Peter Collins, a regular Blue Line columnist, is a forensic psychiatrist with the OPP, and in this issue he has continued his series on the topic of suicide. This is an area where I think we can all benefit from further education, as 800,000 individuals die by suicide each year. In his column, Collins introduces the Behavioural Change Stairway Model, and its stages of facilitating a relationship-building process. You can read more on page 20.
What is something you’ve challenged yourself to learn more about? What area of policing and law enforcement do you think deserves more attention? I encourage you to reach out to me at any time so we can talk about it more (I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).