A Conception Bay South business owner is speaking out on the need for a local Royal Newfoundland Constabulary office within the town, after members of his staff witnessed a double murder last month.
On Oct. 15, Brian Dawe shot and killed Juliane Hibbs inside a medical clinic in the Villa Nova Plaza, shortly before he killed Hibbs' fiancé Vince Dillon in the parking lot. Dawe later drove to the Anglican Cemetery on Kenmount Road in St. John's, where he killed himself.
The incident has raised concerns in the business community. Many believe the growing population in C.B.S. requires more police attention.
Villa Nova Pharmacy owner Jerry Young said even with a fast response time and a seemingly large police presence, some residents aren't feeling safe.
"People do not feel safe within the community, and it's predicated on what's happened in the past, as well as the growth within the town, the city and the province," said Young.
Young said one of his employees has quit, after two recent armed robberies and the double murder that took place next door to the pharmacy.
Meanwhile, Young has beefed up his security system and has added more surveillance cameras — but now he's turning to the RNC and the town council for more help.
"I think I'd like to see a permanent [RNC] office within the town."
Young said he has also approached newly-elected town mayor, Ken McDonald, and was told the issue was brought up at council.
According to RNC statistics, the Northeast Avalon has had 98 robberies this year – which is about average.
RNC Deputy Chief Bill Janes said increased police patrol would only come if the number of calls each year increased.
"We could have officers who are there as members of our compliance team, making sure people follow our court orders, our surveillance team could be deployed there tonight," said Janes.
'People do not feel safe within the community, and it's predicated on what's happened in the past, as well as the growth within the town, the city and the province' - Jerry Young, owner of Villa Nova Pharmacy
"We could have investigators there tonight, we could even have child exploitation working from a computer in this building investigating people in C.B.S."
Janes said while the public might feel safer when the RNC is visible, patrol is just one small piece of the policing pie.
"When you bring together all of those resources and then you see how quickly we identified our person of interest and got to that house, I was extremely pleased with the work that we had done. I was very impressed."
Meanwhile, there are complaints that witnesses had to wait too long after the shooting before they were offered help with coping with what they saw.
Janes said this was the first case where police in the province had to deal with such a large number of people witnessing a crime.
"Oct. 26, ten days later, after we did our investigation, interviewed all our witnesses and made sure we didn't have to do second interviews, and we got hold of a service provider, [the] Salvation Army volunteered, [we] got a location, put together a team, we did our first crisis debriefing with members of the public and we got very good feedback from that event."