Edmonton police renew $440K in cold case rewards

Rewards for 11 homicides between 2006 and 2009 were about to expire but Edmonton police hope rewards might help.

Majority connected to city's Somali-Canadian community

Jibril Ibrahim, the president of Edmonton's Somali-Canadian Cultural Society, says relationships between the community and police have improved and $440K in cold case rewards being renewed, is a sign of that. (CBC)

Edmonton's Police Service has renewed rewards for information about 11 unsolved homicides.

The awards, totally $440,000, were set to expire this month.

The cases make up a little over a third of Edmonton's 31 outstanding homicide rewards.

The cold cases are up to a decade old, falling between 2006 and 2009.

The majority — but not all — have links to the city's Somali-Canadian community. 

Jibril Ibrahim, the president of Edmonton's Somali-Canadian Cultural Society, reviews the list of renewed rewards. (CBC)

Jibril Ibrahim is the president of the Somali-Canadian Cultural Society. He hopes that these rewards will finally lead to some closure for unhealed wounds in the community, something he says is needed.

"They need closure into the issue itself," said Ibrahim. "So hopefully this will help a number of people who knew who the perpetrators were and come forward to share information."

"It will be a reminder to everyone that this issue is not closed." 

It makes me feel that the community is very important to Edmontonians.- Jibril Ibrahim

Mahamad Accord, the CEO at Taccalusa Institute, said the rewards will only work if people trust the police. This trust is something some members of the community have had problems with in the past. 

"Even if the reward is attractive ... the community has to feel comfortable with the person they are talking to, that they will be safe talking to them," said Accord. 

"That's where the problem lies rather than the reward itself." 

Mahamad Accord, the CEO at Taccalusa Institute, said there is still much work to be done. (CBC)

Ibrahim says in recent years the Somali-Canadian community and EPS have significantly improved their relationship.

This renewal is further proof to him that the EPS is committed to helping. 

"It makes me feel that the community is very important to Edmontonians," said Ibrahim. "That we are collectively working together to solve them." 

Still much work to be done

Accord said he does believe the renewals are a step in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done in the community.

He says the challenge is far bigger than just solving outstanding murder cases. 

He says that Somali-Canadian youth in Edmonton face many systemic roadblocks that lead them to situations where they would be distrustful of police.  

"On the other side of it, if we really want to address the issue, we have to address the education, the police, youth justice, the opportunity, so that the young people can feel like they belong here," said Accord.

"It's a dual challenge."

Anyone with information must identify themselves and be ready to testify in court to receive the full reward.