Beyond the Headlines

Tracking gun violence in Halifax

Posted: Jan 17, 2012 4:13 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 17, 2012 4:13 PM ET

It was not the way anyone wanted to start the New Year.

After a year in which Halifax set a record for homicides with 17, at approximately 12:30am on New Year's day a 16 year-old was shot in the face at the Dartmouth Sportsplex bus terminal.
Fortunately, he survived.

Since then there have been five more shootings in HRM: that's a record-setting pace of one shooting every three days. It's the continuation of a trend that is seeing more guns on the street and more criminals who don't hesitate to use them.

Consider these numbers:

In 2009 there were 55 shooting incidents in HRM - everything from shots fired at cars or houses, to people being shot, and sometimes killed.

In 2010 that number dropped slightly to 45.

Last year the numbers skyrocketed to 75. That's one shooting every 4.8 days.

Police say the reason is simple. As more people involved in crime arm themselves, their peers or competitors feel they have to get guns too, and so it escalates.

Halifax police spokesman Cst. Brian Palmeter says getting guns off the street is a top priority. Palmeter calls these record high gunplay numbers "the storm before the calm." He says police are targeting known criminals, and are taking a lot of guns off the street. And while we obviously aren't seeing the results of that campaign yet, Palmeter is confident we will soon start seeing fewer shootings in Halifax.

Well, we've decided to see if that's the case. We have created a gun violence data base: an interactive map so you can track the shootings where they happen and when.


You can view the map here

We'll update it every time there is gun violence on the streets of HRM.

 In the meantime, here's my full interview with Cst. Palmeter.

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About the Author

Brian DuBreuil is a veteran journalist with CBC News. He has won two Gemini awards for his work, and neither involved dancing or singing on a reality show.

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