More than 100 people in Saskatoon walk to end knife violence
Friends and family of Dustin Boulet want stricter knife laws
More than one hundred people marched down a busy Saskatoon street on Thursday night to raise awareness of knife violence in the city.
Many of them knew Dustin Boulet and say stricter knife laws are needed to prevent other people from dying.
"We've been told by police, that you can walk down the street with a knife or machete —and they've seen it— and they legally can not do anything until there is some kind of raucous," said Amanda Boulet, Dustin Boulet's sister-in-law. "That is not safe. I think of my own kids walking down the street and just the other night we were at the river, and there was a man, with a machete."
If it were to become illegal I think it would make an impact on what young people think is acceptable,- Anita Simaganis
Friends of Dustin Boulet circulated a petition before the walk started. The document is aimed at changing current law in order to make it illegal to carry a knife in public. The group said it plans to eventually send it to Parliament Hill.
Chad Boulet said he believes the changes are needed so that others do not meet the same fate as his brother Dustin.
"I know that he is gone and I know that he is not the only one that has lost his life from a knife and we are not the only family to be victimized this way," Boulet said. "So this walk isn't just for my brother or his friends or his family, this is for everybody who live here who is tired of reading the paper of seeing it on the news every couple of days there's another stabbing."
Fed up with violence
Anita Simaganis is one of those fed up people. She has lived in a west-side neighbourhood — near the 22nd Street bar where Boulet was stabbed — since 2005.
"In my particular neighbourhood here, and I am not saying it is just happening on the west side, but there is an escalation of violent altercations [here] with either guns or bats or knives or machetes going on," said Simaganis.
Simaganis explained that her own son was swept into a gang in the area and is now serving time in jail for his crimes. She too wants to see the laws change to be more proactive.
"If it were to become illegal I think it would make an impact on what young people think is acceptable," Simaganis said.
According to Statistics Canada, knives are the most common weapon used to commit a violent crime in the country. In Saskatoon 8.7 per cent of violent crimes committed in the city involve a knife; according to the 2008 census.