Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

15 March 2008

Living in the Brantford Ghetto?

What an interesting day of reaction yesterday was to, what truly is, an alarming stat to Brantfordians. #1 Dangerous city in Ontario.

Lucky that Brantford doesn't have those weapons of mass destruction Combines at Massy anymore... we'd just steal them and assault others with them. We can't be trusted.

Whew... dodged that bullet. (Joke... come on... laugh a bit)

From today's Brantford Expositor:

"The mayor, police officials and victims' advocates acknowledge Brantford has crime, some of it very serious, but they are wary of an overblown and inaccurate portrayal of the city as crime central.

The rankings are "a bit alarmist and a bit of a red herring," said Joanna Brant, executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant.

There is no doubt sexual violence is "a huge problem in our community," with the centre's crisis line receiving 150 calls every month, Brant says.

However, she suggests that the city's high ranking may have more to do with community outreach and services that encourage greater reporting of what is most often a hidden crime.

The rankings "will perk interest for a day, but I'm not sure it's done much to contribute" to making safer communities, Brant said.

The Maclean's rankings have rankled Mayor Mike Hancock."

"It's unfair to everyone in Brantford. I'm angry about it. I feel insulted," he said on Friday."

OK, I can buy this somewhat. But let's not try and spin it too hard here. Put the PR machine away for a minute. If you've lived here, you KNOW there are issues in Brantford that need attention.

It's true that we are not a dangerous city like these stats would lead you to believe... but McLeans Magazine didn't "cook" any numbers here. They had no vendetta again Brantford. In fact, most Torontonians think that the world falls off right about Burlington. No national media was focused on Brantford (the cover story of this article was that Toronto is safer than they thought)!

So let's take this as a wake up call. Let's keep working and step up the pace. When (many years ago), Brantford was named the worst Downtown in Canada, we got our act in gear and took action. Now, we're the 2nd worst Downtown in Canada (oh calm down, that was a joke too). It's really improved because of the work of many.

And this issue CAN and WILL change too. Brantford is a STRONG city with really good people in it. But here's what (in my opinion) needs to change in our thinking:

Those who are contributing to these "numbers" are more than "numbers in need of a cell"

They are Brantfordians too.
They count and matter.
Many need jobs.
Many need counseling.
Many need a friend.

And it's a issue that requires the action of more than just the Mayor, the police and the dude who changes the bulbs in the street lights on Market Street. It involves YOU and ME caring radically about each other enough to make personal sacrifices for the benefit and betterment of others.




I hated the way it felt yesterday seeing Facebook Status's springing up about Brantford being a crime capital. Listening to people speak poorly about a city that I've chosen to be my home. It will take sacrifice and commitment from a community to change things. It's OUR home. God loves Brantford and wants it to prosper.

"So in Jesus name, we pray for Mike Hancock, the police, the Brantford Expositor, the law makers, the churches, the social services, and guy who threatened to kill me on the street this summer. I pray health, wealth and wisdom to be close and tangible. Your Kingdom come... Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."


Anonymous said...

Dave, I just want to say that I appreciate your optimism, and your actions. Well done. You are an asset to Brantford.

I was going to leave this comment on the entry regarding the Maclean's article, but instead put it here.

A contribution I can add would be to say that I believe that Brantford is indeed very dangerous. The Maclean's report has merit.

I lived there for 10 years until recently. We decided to move our family. I did not want my children to grow up there. We lived in several different areas. We make a decent income. It made no difference as we faced similar problems in every neighbourhood we lived in: drug dealing, constant domestic violence, theft, child abuse, animal abuse.

There needs to be a major shift in Brantford on many levels - but mostly spiritual in nature. In fact, I think it should primarily be spiritual in nature.

With all the resources that have been available to Brantford citizens, why aren't things changing? Why don't things improve? Why are folks making bad choices over and over?

We don't feel strong enough to live in a place like that right now. I think we may come back, but not right now.


Dave Carrol said...

Thanks so much for the comment. Yeah I would say that you're not alone. I've experienced similar things for sure.

I really was a "want to get out of Brantford" guy. And I would say that my "love" for Brantford really is based on what can be or what WILL be more than what I see right now around me.

There is little for youth, few places to shop... last night I had a rare night that I could do what I wanted to do in the late night hours and I said to my buddy... "man I wish we had a 24hr breakfast place."

But I think what I do like about Brantford is that it's PRIME location for revival. Spiritual, economic, social... you name it. I've done the Africa thing and we don't like in that kind of poverty... but to African's, the decrepet social state that North America is in, makes them thrilled to be Africans.

We have to live somewhere. And I dig the fight. I relish the role of city changer. Not that I think your desicion is a bad one at all because I have 3 kids too and get it totally.

Missionary kids grow up all over the world in cultures far different from ours and God keeps them safe, grows them in fabulous ways... so I believe that my kids are (as I pray over them every night) healthy, wealth and wise.

I often think of the Ghandi quote, "Be the change you want to see" It's supper applicable in this area.

Thanks so much for the comment RMB!

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