Too many black youths are in jail, and too many minority residents are becoming victims of violent crime, says the author of a study on violence and public safety in HRM.

Don Clairmont said Friday his research shows minorities are 1.6 times more likely to worry about violent crime than the population as a whole, and with good reason: they’re 2.5 times more likely to have been victims of it.

“I can’t believe we can’t do better on this,” Clairmont told reporters Friday.

He recommended the city establish a race relations committee that meets regularly, and that it hire more minority employees.

David Sparks, Sr., head of the Martin Luther King Project in Nova Scotia, organized a 2007 march in North Preston against violence.

Sparks said Friday while the city isn’t doing enough to get Halifax’s black residents involved, the black community needs to become more politically active.

“It works both ways. We have a responsibility as well,” Sparks said.

“We’ve got to make more opportunities available to youth at risk; we’ve got to open up doors to integrate more into the mainstream.”

Part of the problem, he said, is that African Nova Scotians in Halifax haven’t reached consensus on what they need and want in order to improve people’s lives.

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