You knew that all the publicity surrounding gang violence in the Vancouver area was going to attract hyperbole as the issue gets hijacked for use as anecdotal evidence of a crime crisis that requires tougher laws, including longer sentences, and more police.
The Independent, a national newspaper in the U.K., describes gang crime in Vancouver this year with an off-the-hyperbole-meter flourish:
As it prepares to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, what it’s got now is not cuddly, eco-friendly publicity, but blood-spattered streets littered with shell casings and corpses.
The story appears under the headline: “From Heaven to Hell…”
Blood-spattered streets littered with shell casings and corpses.
That’s high-flyin writin’ that might roll off the tongue, chock-a-block with alliteration and grisly imagery, but there’s one problem. It ignores some basic facts.
• The RCMP says murders in the Lower Mainland, the region that includes Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, showed “no significant increase/decrease” in the 10-year span from 1997 to 2007.
That seems like the bigger problem requiring attention.
The jury is still out on the scope of the gang problem this year, and how it will fit into the long-term picture.