News / Halifax

Crime an 'unfortunate reality:' Halifax police chief not ready to support idea of cameras for specific locations

Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais said he'd prefer to study where cameras are needed around HRM, when asked about a specific Dartmouth path.

Police blocked off the area around the Farrell Street Park path where Chelsie Probert was found on June 6.

Yvette d'Entremont/Metro

Police blocked off the area around the Farrell Street Park path where Chelsie Probert was found on June 6.

A string of violent incidents in Dartmouth, including a homicide Friday night, have residents concerned and one councillor suggesting cameras for a specific path, but the Halifax police chief says a better approach would be to look at the whole municipality.

At a Board of Police Commissioners meeting Monday afternoon, Coun. Tony Mancini asked Chief Jean-Michel Blais on his thoughts around installing cameras on the walking path off Farrell Street where Chelsie Probert was found June 6, and later died in hospital.

“The challenge here is we’re looking at lagging as opposed to leading,” Blais said.

“My hope is there will never ever be another aggression, another homicide that occurs there - the question is where else would it be?”

Blais said he’d be “very receptive” to looking at the larger issue of where the most important places around HRM would be to use cameras, while balancing issues of privacy legislation and public concerns around an invasion of public space.

The police chief also said residents shouldn’t overestimate the power of cameras to solve or prevent crime, and there are other things like improving lighting, cutting back overhanging trees, removing or putting up fences, that can also make a difference.

To those feeling tense about the 10 reported violent incidents across HRM since June 1, including a man who was stabbed after being swarmed by a group of teens Sunday, Blais said it’s important to “continue with your lives.”

The “unfortunate reality” is that crime will occur in our communities, Blais said, but overall crime is trending down and Halifax police adjust their patrols depending on crime reports and clusters of incidents.

Blais added the “biggest thing” is for people to be mindful of underlying factors in many cases (although not specifically recent ones) around drugs, domestic violence, and gunplay.

“We have to be very mindful of those issues and we have to work hard to ... eradicate those issues that result in these unfortunate incidents,” Blais said.

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