News / Halifax

Halifax working on public safety strategy in the wake of gun violence

HRM public safety officer Ted Upshaw gave a presentation Monday outlining what his office is doing in response to recent gun violence.

Police survey the scene of the third homicide in nine days in November.

Jeff Harper / Metro Order this photo

Police survey the scene of the third homicide in nine days in November.

After a violent year in Halifax, the municipality is working on a public safety strategy designed to prevent violence from happening, and provide support for communities when it does.

HRM public safety officer Ted Upshaw gave a presentation to the municipality’s Board of Police Commissioners during its meeting on Monday outlining what his office is doing in response to recent gun violence that saw three men shot dead in nine days.

“We have an issue going on today. We have violence going on in our streets. We have to figure out how we can deal with that and stop that today and potentially tomorrow,” Upshaw told the board. “That’s huge for us, to bring the feeling of safety to the community.”

Upshaw said meetings have been happening over the past month between the municipality, the province, and communities about what can be done, and said a small working group is putting together what will become the municipality’s public safety strategy.

The strategy will be wide reaching, Upshaw said, looking at long-term change in issues including racism, poverty, housing, employment and mental health.

“We have to have patience, and recognize that if we look at something today, it’s not necessarily going to help, unfortunately, that person that now lies in the street,” he said. “But if we do it right, we’ll be able to help their brother or sister or somebody in that community.”

There have been 12 homicides in the municipality this year. Police have laid charges in six of them.

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