Calgary police forced to retract ValenCrimes cards after angry backlash
Calgary police were forced to retract their ValenCrimes cards on Thursday after massive backlash from the public.
The police department released the light-hearted cards on February 14. Each card featured a different wanted criminal, displaying their picture alongside a physical description, warrant, and contact number.
Now, Calgary police have retracted the cards and said that the campaign may have "lacked sensitivity."
In a letter posted Thursday afternoon, Chief Mark Neufeld said, "We received some thoughtful comments and dialogue on Twitter expressing concern that the ValenCrimes posts lacked sensitivity and may be stigmatizing for the individuals profiled."
"In light of the significant responses, both positive and negative, received over the course of the Family Day long weekend, we completed a review of the initiative."
"The 2020 posts/profiles have been removed from our social media accounts. We will of course, continue to use our regular warrant process to accomplish the objective."
So far, the reaction to the Calgary police retracting the cards has been largely mixed.
Some Canadians are applauding the police's retraction.
Good on @CalgaryPolice and Chief @neufeld_mark for canceling Valencrimes.— Nathaniel Schmidt (@N88TE) February 21, 2020
Empathy should be practiced in all aspects of criminal justice which means rising to your role as police for all Calgarians - one more thread about it all. 1/4 #yyc #yyccc https://t.co/xcXbABM7td
And others felt that the police still hadn't even acknowledged all of the issues with the cards.
Happy to see the @calgarypolice take action and retract Valencrimes despite having a statement that shows they dint quite understand all of the issues involved. I will put out my thoughts on this issue in the coming days. #socialstudies https://t.co/tVHEZ4LCES— Stephanie Chan (@StephanieChan) February 21, 2020
But some Canadians were sad to see the ValenCrimes go.
I loved those Valencrimes....too bad you received negative feedback. In my opinion a criminal is a criminal...I doubt they would exercise any care or compassion towards us. Know that some of us enjoyed the sense of humour. 👏🏻— Della (@del999444) February 21, 2020
And others pointed out that the cards probably did more good than ill.
That's too bad, I think the ValenCrimes post caught the attention of people a bit more than just the standard "have you seen the criminal" post. They were more memorable.— Tamara (@tiikeri_pantera) February 21, 2020
This is the second time that the Calgary police have run the ValenCrimes campaign; in 2019, the initiative resulted in five of the eight profiled offenders being located and arrested.
The Calgary police confirmed that they won't be running the campaign again in 2021.
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