Violent crime is on the rise, the heads of Halifax Regional Police and Halifax RCMP said Thursday.
The declaration followed a long week of two homicides, an alleged attempted murder, a couple of serious shootings and the abduction of two teens.
“The last few weeks have been very challenging from a policing perspective,” HRP Chief Frank Beazley told reporters gathered at the Gottingen Street police station.
“There has been a slight increase in violent crime, when comparing this year’s first quarter stats to last year’s.”
Violent crime, including homicides and assaults, is up four per cent, police say, but added crime overall is down three per cent.
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“What we are seeing is an increase in the degree of violence and a cluster of crimes in a short period of time,” Beazley said.
He said “there is no known connection” among the six homicides in HRM this year, or the slew of violent crimes this week, adding in many cases he’s seen over his career “the victim and assailant are known to each other.”
Supt. Darrell Beaton of Halifax RCMP added “these violent crimes are between individuals who are involved in the criminal element.
“Law-abiding citizens are not targets,” he said, but emphasized the fact they’re happening in public places is of “grave concern.”
Beaton said both police forces are adding resources this weekend, while Beazley said “if something was to happen again tomorrow, we would have a fresh team.”
But he admitted police have to prioritize, which means minor thefts and frauds “may get put on the shelf ... but the major incidents will be taken care of.”
Beazley said he met with Mayor Peter Kelly Thursday to assure him that police still have enough resources to maintain public safety.