Mayor agrees gun crime becoming worrisome

Residents in Halifax Regional Municipality are concerned about the recent spate of gunplay and "escalation of violent crime," a council meeting heard Tuesday.

Coun. Darren Fisher (East Dartmouth-The Lakes) said local police "do a great job," but Nova Scotia’s justice system is not helping matters.

"These (criminals) are incarcerated and then get released and are back on the street firing guns in the vicinity of the public," Fisher said.

It is time regional council contact the provincial government "to find out if there’s anything that (it) can do to strengthen the justice system" to keep gun-toting criminals off the streets, he said.

Council unanimously agreed to write Justice Minister Ross Landry to seek help with the battle against gun crime. Landry and Halifax Police Chief Frank Beazley are to host a news conference today addressing violent crime.

The municipality has had eight homicides so far this year. There were 12 murders in 2010.

Not all victims this year, or last, were killed by people using firearms.

Mayor Peter Kelly said the murder rate is worrisome, although he praised police for the arrests they have made.

The mayor said any assistance from the province and Ottawa would be greatly appreciated.

"An enhanced presence from the province would be beneficial," he said.

Kelly added that "a strong federal initiative would certainly be one that would find support here."

Fisher said he wants something to be done about convicted criminals being freed and committing more crimes.

"The general public are concerned and frustrated with the recent rash of gunfire and escalation of violent crime in HRM, most notably in Dartmouth recently."

There have been more than 20 unsolved homicides in the Halifax region since Kelly was first elected mayor in 2000, according to Halifax Regional Police.

Anyone with information about these killings should pass the information to Halifax police or the RCMP, he said.

"In many of these situations, there are witnesses, but they are afraid to speak or they have not come forward," Kelly told reporters after the council session.

"That is a concern."


The homicides that happened, all happened in the last month.