REGINA – Connie Dieter was born and raised in North Central and is now pushing for change in the neighborhood she says is plagued by violent crime.
“The people in the community are afraid to get out and walk in the streets at night, and they have good reason to be.”
Two people were charged with attempted murder Monday in connection to a brutal beating of a 14-year-old boy on May 11th, just the latest example of extreme violence in North Central.
In fact, all three of Regina’s homicides so far this year have taken place in the neighborhood.
Connie Dieter officially announced her plans to run for councillor of Ward 6 and she sat down with Global’s Teri Fikowski to discuss her push to end violence in North Central.
North Central activist seeks council position in Ward 6
UPDATE: Police charge second person in North Central homicide
Q: Where does your passion for trying to end violence in North Central come from?
A: It comes from the fact that I was born and raised in North Central. I have pictures of my father and mother, we were one of the first First Nations families to live in the city. Those streets are very familiar to me. I remember the grocery store on 5th and Elphinstone. I remember the shoe businesses that were open during those days in the neighborhood and I remember small business being a vibrant part of the community. I remember a community of carers and who weren’t afraid to walk in the streets and it’s just very troubling to see this happening now, in a community that was once a fairly safe place to be.
Q: And you don’t think it is anymore?
A: No, and that’s why I’ve put my name forward to be a city councillor because I am quite frankly appalled with what’s happening in North Central. I’ve been doing some research in regards to what’s happening there. One of my concerns is The Safer Communities Act introduced in 2004. What that’s done is expulsed 736 families, addicted individuals and their families and their children out of their homes. We suspect given the fact these were addicted people that they moved to the inner cities where it’s easier to find rent and fewer questions are asked. This is why there’s an increase in the severity of crimes and number of crimes in these cities in Saskatchewan. I really think our government needs to review how this act is impacting people in the inner cities.
I remember a community of carers and who weren’t afraid to walk in the streets and it’s just very troubling to see this happening now, in a community that was once a fairly safe place to be.
Q: You’re still very tied to the community, what do the people there think, how are they feeling about their neighborhood?
A: The people in the community are afraid to get out and walk in the streets at night, and they have good reason to be. There’s been individuals who’ve been shot just opening their door. We have a 14-year-old who’s just hanging on to his life because of accelerated gang activity that needs to be addressed. We have billion dollars that’s coming into that three mile square area and we need to have a look at how that money is spent and whether it’s actually making an impact to the violence that’s happening in North Central.
Q: You’re running to be a councillor in the municipal election, but do you think other levels of government play a role?
A: Oh yes. We as Reginans, in a city of less than 200,000, where virtually there’s no other crime in other parts of the cities….If you look at a crime map of Regina it’s all in the inner city and everything else is just clear – which tells me there’s something very wrong. Which is why I’m stepping up. I encourage people to look into the research.