‘One gun death is too many’: Increased gun violence a concern for Halifax Mayor

Halifax Regional Police responded to a pair of shooting incidents this week, which investigators now say may be connected.

The increasing level of gun violence in the region is raising concerns in the community and from the city’s mayor.

“Generally we are a pretty safe city, and, you know, we are proud of that, but we have too much gun violence and obviously one gun death is too many,” said Halifax Major Mike Savage.

On Thursday, police closed this section of Haliburton Avenue and Wright Avenue in Dartmouth for a shooting investigation.

Forensic identification officers focused on a bullet hole in the windshield of a security van parked in front of the OK Tire on Wright Avenue.

It’s the thirteenth shooting incident Halifax Regional Police have responded to this year.

A man is currently recovering from non-life-threatening injuries in a Halifax hospital after he was shot while sitting in his pick-up truck in Bedford, NS, Wednesday night.

Police believe the two incidents may be connected.

In the past four months, Halifax police confirmed four people have been killed by guns and they have laid charges in one of the killings.

“Certainly we understand the communities concern,” said HRP Const. John MacLeod. “Anytime these kinds of incidents occur, the potential for somebody to be injured or killed is extremely high, which is why we do everything we can to not only investigate these incidents, but to make sure we’re doing what we can to proactively pull firearms off the street.”

Last month, Halifax police opened an anonymous gun tip line, to encourage community members to bring forward any information relating to gun crimes.

“As long as we can have that information, it’s invaluable,” said MacLeod. “It might be that one piece that we need to move an investigation forward, to solve some of these crimes.

Halifax isn’t the only Canadian city dealing with an increase in gun violence, says Savage, who is also the chair of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus. The mayor says gun violence is up right across Canada, as cities deal with both an increasing level of gun activity and increased trafficking of illegal guns.

“All cities in Canada have seen, and around the world I think have seen, an increase in gun violence,” said Savage. “While crime generally has gone down over the last number of years, the level of gun violence has increased and we’re concerned about that and it’s certainly on the chief’s (Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella) mind and the police officers who have to deal with this on the front line.”

Halifax police have confiscated 89 guns through their investigations so far this year, says MacLeod.

“We know when we take those firearms off the street they can’t be used further for any violent means.”

In 2021, HRP dealt with more than 60 gun-related incidents. This year, they’ve responded to 13 shooting incidents so far–four of which have been fatal.

MacLeod says, for the most part, investigators believe the shootings are not random incidents, but any amount of gun violence is concerning.

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