Nova Scotia’s overall crime rate dipped by seven per cent last year, statistics released July 21 show.
But that could be seen as cold comfort since the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics report was released a day after shots were fired in the middle of the afternoon in the heart of Halifax.
“When you have incidents like that in the daytime, in broad daylight, in a heavily populated area, in those cases, yes, there is an increased risk to the general public,” Const. Brian Palmeter, spokesman for Halifax Regional Police, said after looking over the new stats.
Both the Halifax Regional Police and Halifax RCMP released their own stats early this year, showing that violent crime increased across the municipality during the first part of this year.
“There’s been a four per cent rise in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter for 2008,” he said. “We’ve acknowledged that there’s been a spike in these violent incidents."
He said police attribute the increase in violence to a pattern of recent public gunfire and a number of homicides already this year.
“We have ongoing disputes between different groups in a very violent manner,” Palmeter said. “We’ve seen that they’ve moved to using firearms to settle their disputes.”
On Monday afternoon, a man fired two shots on Spring Garden Road. Late in the evening on Canada Day, several shots were fired in a Tim Hortons parking lot in the city’s north end.
Halifax still sits above the national average in overall crime rate statistics.
(Edited from a Metro News article by Hilary Beaumont in response to suggested story ideas.)