Police get ready
Tuk RCMP brace for battle with booze

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Tuktoyaktuk (Feb 21/00) - Faced with the possibility that a liquor store could open in Tuk, the local RCMP are bracing for a marked increase in crime.

RCMP Sgt. Terry Scott said he's prepared to accept whatever decision the community makes on the new outlet, but he's certain alcohol consumption will increase and with that, so will crime.

"The RCMP are not the social conscience of the community, so whatever the hamlet decides, we have to live with it," he said. "It may create a spike for a while, while the community sort themselves out a bit.

"Consumption will go up, that's pretty much a given," he added. "Accessibility and lower price are definitely going to going to be factors."

"Almost everything that we have to deal with criminally, alcohol is a factor."

Scott agrees with council and residents that bootlegging is a problem in the community and his detachment has had little success in slowing down the black market.

"Bootlegging is widespread," Scott said. "We have identified a core group, we just can't get anybody to make buys from them."

With bootleggers more than doubling their money with each sale, Scott said the lure will always be there.

"There's a lot of money going out -- there are big profits here," he said. "People are paying a $100 for a 26-ounce bottle."

Scott said the bootleggers are pulling in more than $100,000 a year in sales and are also likely to supplement their trade with importing drugs.

If there is an increase in crime with the new liquor store, Scott said his detachment is prepared for the worst.

"We've got five regular members and a community constable right now and during the oil boom there was never more than five members here," he said.

"We plan to continue to work closely with the hamlet and various interest groups to develop some creative solutions to their problems here and this is one more thing that is coming our way, I think," Scott said.