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Halifax's top safety officer gives sneak peek of crime-reduction strategy

Halifax's public safety officer told a police commission meeting on Monday afternoon that he has come up with almost 80 ideas for the city to implement that could help reduce violence in the city.

Strategy should be ready for council by the end of October

Ted Upshaw is the public safety officer for Halifax. He's come up with a long list of actions for the city to take to help reduce violent crime in the city. (CBC)

Halifax's public safety officer told a police commission meeting on Monday afternoon that he has come up with almost 80 ideas for the city to implement that could help reduce violence in the city.

On Monday, police statistics were released that show the Halifax region saw 18 per cent more assaults in the first half of 2017 than in the same period last year.

There were 1,344 assaults from the beginning of January until the end of June, which was 207 more than during the same time frame in 2016.

The statistics come as municipal officials work on a new public safety strategy. It got underway in 2016 after a number of gun-related killings. The strategy will outline ways the municipality can help reduce violence in the long run.

Concrete ideas

So far, public safety officer Ted Upshaw has come up with 78 ideas. One action Upshaw would like the city's recreation department to take is to partner with the Halifax Regional School Board to help students who have been expelled.

"They still need to keep up with their studies, so the municipality can work with the school board to help them out there," said Upshaw.

He said reducing the cost of transit, assisting with food security and encouraging affordable housing are other ways the municipality can create safer communities.

Jean-Michel Blais says improving people's lives is key to combating violence. (CBC)

Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais said making more arrests isn't the solution to a safer city.

"We can't arrest ourselves out of this problem," he said. "If we can improve people's lives, I'm convinced that we'll be able to see a decline [in arrests]."

The strategy should be ready for council by the end of October.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca