There’s no question Betty-Ann Blue Cloud is one tough grandmother.
She will represent Canada in a major martial arts competition this fall, but right now Blue Cloud is more worried about defending her family and keeping her community safe.
“A few incidents have occurred with my grandson and with my daughter — two incidents within the same day,” Blue Cloud said.
Blue Cloud lives in Falconridge but said the problems persist in neighbouring communities as well.
In one of the incidents, Blue Cloud’s 34-year-old daughter was coming home to Falconridge during transit and was violently assaulted.
“Her head was slammed into the sidewalk,” Blue Cloud said. “She was robbed. They took her purse.”
What’s worse, Blue Cloud said the assault happened after her daughter stopped to help someone who appeared to be in distress.
That was the second incident for Blue Cloud and the last straw.
Earlier the same day her grandson Hayden Neapetung and two of his young friends were operating a lemonade stand.
Hayden said seven teens on bikes bullied and threatened them until his friend gave up their lemonade earnings, which amounted to $15.
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Blue Cloud said she can’t sit by and watch her neighborhood and surrounding communities deteriorate. She is calling on the police, the City of Calgary, and even the province to do more to keep Calgarians safe.
Calgary’s Police Chief Mark Neufeld said violent crimes like homicides and weapons calls are down 30 per cent in Calgary, but concedes the statistics are of little comfort for people who don’t feel safe in their own neighborhood.
Chief Neufeld said each district is responsible for its own crime management strategy.
“So they are looking to see where the hot spots are, and they know in many cases who these individuals are, so I think that cooperation between the community and the police officers working in that local area is critical to getting out and getting on top of this so that kids don’t lose $15, and nobody’s pushed to the ground and shootings are driven down,” Neufeld said.
Blue Cloud has a number of suggestions, including a community block watch and more visible uniformed officers.
Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal has started doing monthly ride-alongs with Calgary police officers to increase patrols and visibility as well as identify trouble spots within neighborhoods.
“I just had a recent conversation with Chief Neufeld and that’s what I was stressing upon, that maybe we need more patrols because sometimes it’s about seeing people in uniform, that increased visibility,” Dhaliwal said.
Blue Cloud said she keeps her family pretty close to home these days and hopes to see changes that make her community feel as safe as it once did.