Monday, September 28, 2009

We may be understaffed a little?

Saw this story in the Metro today. Ottawa's Police Tactical Unit wants an armoured car. One of those high-powered, totally bulletproof, armed-to-the-teeth vehicles you see in movies. I assume. It costs $341,000, which I guess has some people questioning the request. Not me though. I am all about us getting that car, if only because that giant police robot from Robocop has yet to be actually invented. Frankly, I would like for us to have one of those, if the option were presented. Or, we could have a Robocop. That would be cool too.

No, what caught my eye in the story was this phrase: "According to the report, of 27 Canadian police services of similar size or larger than Ottawa's, nine have armoured vehicles and four have access to one if required." And I thought - wait. There are twenty-seven other police services of "similar size or larger" than ours? There aren't 27 other cities of similar size or larger in the country. Even stretching the definition of "similar size" to include cities with a population within 500,000 of Ottawa's, there are only nine others. The nine, I assume, with armoured vehicles.

So if we were to take the 27 most populous cities in Canada (well, 28, because there are 27 others) then we would be talking about cities like Brantford and Moncton, with populations of about 128,000 - about 16% of the population of Ottawa proper. So - they have police forces of a similar size to that of Ottawa? Is crime really so bad in Moncton that they need six times as many cops per capita? Or are we just terribly understaffed on the Ottawa police force? Or, is this just a silly statistic that means nothing, and I'm reading way too much into it?


  1. Yup, sounds like you missed the statistical trick. The article said the size of the police force, not the size of the city -- or cities -- covered by each police force

  2. That's what I'm saying though - if Moncton has a police force of a similar SIZE to ours, doesn't that mean that we are drastically understaffed? Or that they are drastically overstaffed?