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Crime affects us all: Fort Good Hope Chief

John Curran
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 04/06) - Last November, Fort Good Hope Chief Ron Pierrot became a statistic.

A shovel was thrown through his picture window making him one of the four in 10 Northerners who say they were victimized by crime in the past year.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Crime stats in the NWT reveal a rate of victimization three times higher than the rest of the nation, according to a Statscan report. - NNSL file photo

Sahtu Crime stats


  • Aggravated Assault 1
  • Assault 30
  • Assault Police Officer 1
  • Assault w/ weapon or cause bodily harm 1
  • B & E Business 37
  • B & E Residence 11
  • Sexual Assault 5
  • Theft* 20
  • Uttering Threats** 1


  • Assault 35
  • Assault w/ weapon or cause bodily harm 5
  • B & E Business 19
  • B & E Residence 8
  • Sexual Assault 5
  • Sexual Interference
  • w/a Minor 2
  • Theft 27
  • Uttering Threats 6


  • Aggravated Sexual Assault 1
  • Assault 34
  • Assault weapon or cause bodily harm 9
  • B & E Business 14
  • B & E Residence 7
  • Sexual Assault 1
  • Theft 9
  • Uttering Threats 5


  • Assault 81
  • Assault Police Officer 1
  • Assault w/ weapon or cause bodily harm 15
  • B & E Business 12
  • B & E Residence 16
  • Pointing a Firearm 2
  • Sexual Assault 3
  • Sexual Interference
  • w/a Minor 1
  • Theft 55
  • Uttering Threats 9
  • In the Sahtu region, there were 1,046 crimes of violence, incidents of property damage and other criminal code violations reported to the RCMP in 2005.

    While that represents a reduction from the 1,132 incidents reported in 2004, overall crimes of this sort have increased in the region since 2000 when RCMP officers handled just 729 such incidents.

    In Pierrot's own community, the numbers are higher than anywhere else in the region with 521 criminal code violations reported last year.

    "That includes Colville Lake, which is handled through our RCMP detachment here as well," he was quick to add.

    Most residents insist the statistics don't make Fort Good Hope any worse than its neighbours and the chief suggested, in fact, it could be the opposite is true.

    "Other communities may have more crimes that go unreported," he said. "Maybe there are more people in Good Hope looking out for each other."

    Statistics Canada, at least in part, backs up the chief's hypothesis. Research conducted by the federal agency suggested seven out of every 10 violent crimes in the North go unreported.

    Data collection methods aside, none of the numbers were surprising to Pierrot who worked as a police officer for five years in the NWT.

    "People have to realize what's happening," he said. "Residents need to step back, look at the numbers and say, 'Whoa, we need to do something here.'"

    Pierrot said he thinks it is no one group's responsibility to solve the crisis.

    "You can't just point a finger at the RCMP," he said. "It involves the entire community - it's all our problem.

    "We need more awareness...When people see a crime, they need to report it."

    But getting people to talk about crimes when they are so close to the people committing them can be difficult to say the least.

    When News/North contacted another Northerner, they were too afraid of reprisals from the criminal element in their community to discuss anything related to crime or policing in their region.

    "If I talk to you about this I would end up being shot on the way to the airport as soon as the paper comes out," the individual said.

    Pierrot said most of the crime North of 60 is related to addiction.

    Around the North and at home in Good Hope, he said he knows of elders, 60-years-of-age, and older, who use drugs.

    At the same time there are 13- and 14-year-old children smoking marijuana. Bright kids, full of potential, are turning down the wrong road to support this expensive habit, he said.

    "On the street here, a marijuana joint sells for about $10," he said. "We are all victims of drug dealers and bootleggers."

    Once a person is hooked, he said it's only a matter of time before they start breaking into homes and offices looking for things to steal that will pay for their addiction.

    It may not be a popular solution in Canada, but Pierrot said the time has come for governments and community organizations to look at mandatory drug testing as a condition of employment.

    "The mines don't tolerate this sort of behaviour, why should we?" he asked. "Three strikes and you would be blacklisted from working for any level of government in the North."