Halifax has second highest murder rate in the country
Statistics Canada has released its crime figures for 2011, and they don’t shine the Maritimes in a very positive light.
There were no murders in Moncton last year - giving the city an enviable murder rate of zero - but the same can’t be said of Halifax, which had the second highest murder rate in the country.
“It also comes down to a disproportionate number of young men that commit violent crimes,” says criminologist Stephen Schneider.
Statistics Canada released its homicide rates today with data collected from 2011; for the first time in three years murders were up across the country.
Last year in the Maritimes, there was one homicide on Prince Edward Island, eight in New Brunswick, and 22 in Nova Scotia.
But while the numbers were up on Prince Edward Island and in Nova Scotia, that’s not the case everywhere.
Charlottetownand Moncton reported no killings, but there was an increase in Saint John, which saw three murders in 2011.
Halifax reported 18 murders, which was the second highest rate in the country, based on population. Winnipeg topped the list with 39 murders.
“We need an intensive mobilization of resources that are targeted at the most at-risk communities,” says Schneider.
“So, the African Nova Scotian communities, the young men who are dropping out of high school, poverty, the public housing communities.”
Halifax’s new police chief wasn’t around in 2011, but Chief Jean-Michel Blais says he is working to reduce the murder rate going forward.
“One of the things we did was look at gun crime - developing a guns and gangs unit to go out and seek those individuals who use those kinds of weapons in particular crime,” says Blais.
On a positive note, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Ross Landry says this year’s homicide statistics are down significantly compared to last year.
“I had the pleasure of meeting with the mayor as well and the chief together just recently, and I am very optimistic about where we’re going,” says Landry.
There have been 10 murders in Halifax so far this year. Six have been solved, but even with fewer homicides, the city remains the murder capital of the Maritimes.
Meanwhile, both Moncton and Charlottetown are reporting no murders for a second year in a row.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl