« on: February 14, 2012, 09:15:12 AM »
From the Chronicle Herald
Attempted homicides up 69 per cent, most other crimes down from 2010
More people were murdered in the Halifax area last year than the year before, and attempted murders were also up, police crime statistics show.
But most other crimes, ranging from property damage to prostitution matters, dropped, Halifax Regional Police said Monday.
The numbers show a record 19 homicides in 2011, a nearly 73 per cent increase from the 11 in 2010, while attempted murders rose by nearly 69 per cent, to 32 last year from 19 the year before.
"We’ve acknowledged that our homicides and attempted homicides are (in) record numbers," said Const. Brian Palmeter, spokesman for the force.
The previous record for homicides was 12 in 2009 and 2005.
Of the 19 homicides recorded last year, 13 have been solved while six are still under investigation, Palmeter said.
"A lot of the violent crime, specifically, is between people engaged in a criminal lifestyle," he said.
"The vast majority are between people known to one another."
Two of the homicides were nursing- home deaths in which no one was found culpable, while another resulted from a car crash after which a driver was charged with criminal negligence causing death, Palmeter said.
Of the 13 solved killings, more than half involved people "engaged in criminal activity," he said. "Eight or nine are people involved . . . in the drug subculture, things of that nature."
But that doesn’t make the deaths any less disturbing, he said.
Two unsettling crimes investigators dealt with were the separate, random killings of two elderly people, Palmeter said. Lavinia Campbell was murdered during a robbery at her Dartmouth home in December, while Glenn Francis Oakley was shot to death while out for his evening walk in Spryfield in November.
"Those incidents are the ones that are absolutely shocking, where somebody’s been killed without any real rhyme or reason," Palmeter said.
"Those ones where there’s no known connection between the people, those are the ones that tend to be more shocking to the public."
Teenagers have been charged in each of those slayings.
Police Chief Frank Beazley, in his Monday presentation to the board of police commissioners, said people under age 24 commit the most crimes.
Stephen Perrott, a psychology professor at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax who specializes in policing and criminal justice, said there are root causes for such despicable acts.
"The reality, though, is as a society we don’t have any core values anymore," said Perrott, who was a Halifax police officer from 1976 to ’86.
"You’d be hard-pressed to get any feeling out of them (young offenders) at all," he said. "There’s no easy answer here. There are more and more kids who don’t feel like they have any stake in what society has to offer."
Perrott, who has also done policing work in West Africa, said our society is better off and yet there is still more inexplicable violence.
"Lot of kids . . . are walking around and swarming people," he said.
"These kids are all clothed, they all eat, they all have their smartphones. The point is, they don’t have investment in society and they don’t see any hope in the future."
Palmeter said police have made inroads in reducing a number of crimes, most notably break and enters.
"B and Es are down 23 per cent," he said. "Those are the things that are affecting everybody, homeowners . . . anybody that owns shops and stores."
Motor vehicle collisions also dipped substantially, as did injuries from traffic accidents, police said.
There were 5,533 reported collisions last year, down from 8,127 the previous year. And injuries resulting from crashes dropped to 814 in 2011 from 1,141 in 2010.