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Participants in a crime-prevention workshop in Baker Lake earlier this month were, from left, Simona Scottie, Rosie Iyago, Lucy Iyago, Lucy Qaunnaq, Hilu Tagoona, Barbara Beveridge, Basil Tuluqtuq, Jacob Ikinilik and Elizabeth Mikkinguaq. - photo courtesy of Alexis Utatnaq

Crime doesn't pay

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Baker Lake (Mar 30/05) - The message being heard in Baker Lake this month is that crime doesn't pay.

The Baker Lake Inuit Sapuniartingit Community Justice Committee sponsored a number of events during crime-prevention month.

Committee co-ordinator Barbara Beveridge said the various events were well received by the community, especially by local youth.

She said the justice committee held a workshop with elders to look at traditional forms of justice and how time with elders can often help get young people back on the right path.

"We talked a lot about when youth weren't taken to a facility outside of the community when they committed a crime, but would spend time with elders at a small camp out on the land," said Beveridge.

"We also involved students in the community by having an essay contest on crime prevention for the older students and a drawing contest for students at the elementary school."

Prize awards

The winning students in the elementary school will receive bicycles next month, while the high school students will receive smaller prizes.

Beveridge said a talk show focusing on crime prevention attracted a large number of callers to community radio.

"The different events have really helped members of the community understand different ways they can help with crime prevention.

"The message to the youth has been crime doesn't pay and if you choose that path, you will end up in jail."

Beveridge said justice committee members learned a lot from the elders who took part in the workshop about blending traditional justice into the referrals they receive today from the RCMP.

"We also had some people who spent time in jail, who were brave enough to talk about their experiences and let our youth know how bad it is to be in jail.

"That really made an impression and a lot of them now realize when you commit a crime, you don't just hurt one person, you hurt the whole community."