Despite rash of shootings, violent crime on Hamilton Mountain not rising: Police

On Monday night city councillors and Hamilton police held a public meeting to discuss recent crime in Wards 6,7, and 8. Police say there's no significant increase.

10 per cent of police calls in area are violent in nature

Hamilton police Supt. William Mason was at the Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre Monday night presenting information about crime statistics in Wards 6,7, and 8. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

Despite recent shootings on the Hamilton Mountain, police say crime is down slightly from last year.

In 2016, about 11 per cent of police calls from Wards 6, 7 and 8 were violent in nature, they say. So far this year, from January to August, the number of these calls has gone down to about 10 per cent.

"It's what we've typically seen for these wards over the past few years," said Hamilton police Supt. William Mason, commander-in-charge, Division 3. "While we'd always like to see a further decrease, we've seen no significant increase."

Violent crime always catches our attention- Hamilton police Supt. William Mason

Mason says these crimes are reported heavily, but don't make up the majority of crimes.

A violent crime is categorized as force to another person, or anything that could cause harm to a person.

"Violent crime always catches our attention for sure, because we know people are getting hurt," said Mason.

These figures were presented by Hamilton police at a public meeting held by Mountain councillors at the Sackville Hill Seniors Recreation Centre Monday night.

Shootings in the area

The meeting comes after a series of shootings in recent months.

Earlier this month police were called to two separate shootings in one weekend alone, sending two men to hospital. One of the shootings took place at Palacebeach Trail in Stoney Creek and the other in the area of Barton Street E. and Sherman Avenue.

"Generally though what we found in regards to this particular string of shootings is they have all been targeted, they're not random acts," said Mason. "We don't feel that the general public at large is at an overall safety risk."

If the cops won't come, there is nobody to stop them- Sohini Prasad, Twice The Deal Pizza

Mason says they have made some arrests and continue to follow up on all of them to attempt to make further arrests.

'They all got scared. They never came back' 

Policing on the Mountain hasn't made the owners or workers at the Twice The Deal Pizza franchise at 549 Stone Church Rd. East feel safe enough.

Sohini Prasad and Vivek Kumar say that in less than three years they've had one robbery and three break-and-enters. 

"We want more safety and more security," said Prasad. "If the cops won't come, there is nobody to stop them."

Hamilton police Supt. William Mason speaks to Vivek Kumar and Sohini Prasad, who operate Twice The Deal Pizza on 549 Stone Church Rd. East. They've been operating the franchise for almost three years and in that time have had one robbery and three break-and-enters. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

Since the July robbery, they say, all five staff members who were being trained at the time have quit. "They all got scared. They never came back," said Kumar. 

Kumar says it's really hard to put staff in the store because they're scared.

City councillors Donna Skelly of Ward 7, Tom Jackson of Ward 6 and Terry Whitehead of Ward 8 were all in attendance.

"We are seeing more and more break-ins, so we can concentrate on that," Skelly said. "But I think it is a bit of a reassurance to people that you know, you may have heard about these shootings, but they're targeted and they are isolated incidents."

Reporting crime to police

Throughout the meeting, police urged people to report crime as it determines a variety of factors. The amount and allocation of recourses are based on reported crime.

"The reporting of that crime is a key piece," said Mason.

When it comes to officers, the police service uses what they call a 'cop to pop' ratio, the number of officers per 100,000 capita. "Hamilton's definitely on the low side when it comes to that," said Mason. "Some other areas in the GTA have a significantly more officers per 100,000 capita."

Mason says holding public meetings is a good way for police to connect to the community, saying he thinks it 'humanizes' the police.

"The more the community trusts us and trusts that we're going to do the right thing with their information, the more they'll give us their information," said Mason.


Laura Clementson is a producer for CBC's The National. She can be reached at laura.clementson@cbc.ca. Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraClementson.