String of Shootings in YYC
Nina Grossman, News Editor
A recent string of shootings across the city has some Calgarians concerned for their safety. So far from Jan. 1 to Oct. 31 this year, Calgary police have responded to over 85 shootings, resulting in 12 fatalities and 73 injuries. They say that a majority of the shootings were motivated by drug disputes. In 2014, there were only 51 shootings in the same time period.
In the past two weeks there have been four shootings and two carjackings; one of them at gunpoint. How concerned should Calgarians really be? Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin have both said that the city remains incredibly safe.
A lot of citizen concerns are about residential shootings, where a stray bullet can harm or kill anyone. But otherwise the Calgary Police Service (CPS) reports that most of the shootings have been “targeted attacks.” In a press conference on Nov. 5, Chief Chaddin addressed community concerns saying, “I’m confident that through our reorganization and through our efforts that we will be able to meet the citizens needs or concerns for public safety on this (issue).” He explained that the police are reorganizing their resources to focus on the city’s recent violence. “ The (Calgary Police Service) is presently involved in over five major operations that deal with gun and gang violence in the city,” he said, going on to explain that they are “modernizing resources around the reality of the city.”
The nature of gang-related violence is that it is fast moving and difficult to predict. The guns and gangs unit of the Calgary Police are now teaming up with RCMP, working with NWEST, the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team to investigate the violent crimes and the high number of US weapons that have been involved.
Despite the recent incidents, officials assure Calgarians that in relation to the growing population, crime is in fact decreasing in the city. The Calgary Police Commission’s 2015 Citizen survey shows that 97 per cent of citizens have confidence in the CPS and 95 per cent agree that Calgary is a safe place to live. The data was collected between June and August of this year however, before the recent string of shootings occurred.