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Kelly Says Tougher Laws Needed to Curb Increasing Crime
(Thursday, November 24/05)--- Mayor Peter Kelly has requested individual meetings soon with the Federal and Nova Scotia Ministers of Justice to press for legislative changes that would give the police and the Courts more authority to deal with increased crime, particularly involving repeat young offenders.
In addition, Mayor Kelly has asked the HRM Board of Police Commissioners to review the Halifax Regional Police and the Halifax Detachment of the RCMP to ensure they are appropriately resourced to deal with these community issues.
Mayor Kelly made the requests following the release this morning of a report, entitled Criminal Victimization in Canada, by the Canadian Centre of Justice Statistics, which raises significant concern regarding crime in Nova Scotia and across Canada.
The General Social Survey (GSS) on criminal victimization is conducted every five years in Canada. The latest survey was conducted between January and December 2004, when 24,000 Canadians were selected at random to respond to a telephone survey on whether they had been a victim of certain crimes (reported or unreported) in the previous 12 months. The results differ from official police statistics, which record only those crimes that are reported.
HRM tends to be in the higher crime statistics, largely because it is a port city, it has a large student population, it has a large number of drinking establishments in the core area, it has illegal drug issues, as well as legalized gaming issues
The report indicated that youth and lifestyle play an important role in the risk of violent victimization.
“This is not just a policing issue, this is a societal issue, requiring full cooperation among the three levels of government, police services and the community to address this growing area of concern,” said Mayor Kelly. “The profiles revealed in this report indicate that most victims are under 25 years of age, and most perpetrators are in that same age category.”
Mayor Kelly said he has been advised by police officials that persons as young as 14 or 15 years old, have had as many as 70 or 80 criminal charges against them–and committed more while out in the community awaiting trial.
"A number of residents have told me they are frustrated because the justice system cannot seem to appropriately deal with these individuals because of existing legislation. It’s almost like a revolving door. They’re usually back on the street within hours, ready to commit other offenses,” he said.
Mayor Kelly said he supports Nova Scotia Justice Minister Michael Baker’s call for amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act and he will certainly press that issue when he meets with the federal Minister of Justice Irwin Cotler.
Mayor Peter Kelly
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