Posted by: Jennifer | December 4, 2006

issuing proclaimations, not solutions

I agree with people who say that something has to be done in North Dartmouth before we lose our neighbourhood to the gangs and the pushers. I’m still waiting for someone to come up with a plan, though.

Murray Quigley says it’s time north-end Dartmouth residents stand up for the neighbourhood they call home.

“It’s getting worse and if people don’t speak up and do something about it, it’s going to keep getting worse, the Primrose Street resident said of the crime problem that plagues the area.

“People have to take a stand and start saying something, he said during a phone interview Saturday night, less than two days after Blaine Darrell Provo, 40, died after being beaten with a shovel in an Albro Lake Road apartment.

Mr. Quigley said the drugs and violence won’t just go away on their own — community members have to be willing to help police officers do their job.

“Like the Jason MacCullough thing, he pointed out. “There are people that they know saw it, but they won’t come forward because of where they live — they’re afraid of repercussions.

The 19-year-old was discovered dead Aug. 28, 1999, in a park off Pinecrest Drive. He was shot in the back of the head while taking a shortcut during the early morning hours. Police believe it was a random act of violence, but seven years later, they’re still searching for the teen’s killer.

More recently, on the evening of Nov. 6, a double stabbing in the area of Farrell Street and Lahey Road sent two men to hospital with serious wounds. A group of young men chased, assaulted, robbed and repeatedly stabbed the men.

But Mr. Quigley, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 15 years, emphasized that crime isn’t isolated to north-end Dartmouth.

“I think it has more of a (bad) rap than it deserves, because it goes on in other places, too, he said. “Drugs and crime seem to be getting worse . . . but that’s anywhere.

[…]Spokeswoman Theresa Brien said Halifax Regional Police recognize north-end Dartmouth as an area that needs a beefed-up police presence.

Additional hirings have enabled the police force to assign beat officers, on both foot and bike, to the neighbourhood, she said.

“When the budget was approved, we created a beat program for areas we felt would benefit from such a program, Ms. Brien said Sunday afternoon. “One was downtown Halifax and the other was north-end Dartmouth.

Okay, so…any ideas? I can vouch for the fact that there has been an increased police presence over the last several months. There were a couple of times when I started to worry that I was being followed by the cops as I went grocery shopping, because they were constantly behind me. But from what I’ve seen over the last few weeks, that does not seem to be enough.

Of course, as I’m writing this, I have to admit that I don’t exactly have any bright ideas myself. I suppose that some sort of community watch program would help a little. The landlords and home owners of the neighbourhood really need to do their part. When an area looks rundown and uncared for, it drives down the property values, and the low rent is going to attrack the unsavoury types that we are trying to avoid. It’s amazing what a coat of paint and some landscaping can do for a home, and fixing up some of these apartment buildings — not too much that people can’t afford them anymore, but enough to make them look a little more habitable — would probably make a big difference as well.

It’s the little steps that are going to make a difference, but everyone has to pitch in and make an effort. Otherwise, the good people of the area, the ones who just want to make a living and raise their kids and have somewhere to call home, are going to be forced out and the dealers and hookers and gangs are going to take over the entire area. And it really is too nice of an area to let that happen.

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