Crime · Culture · Dartmouth · Economy · Halifax · Urban Studies

Johnny Law Needs a New Slingshot… Part Three

I live in Downtown Dartmouth.  A lively neighborhood.  Since we’ve moved here in 2008 we have witnessed the following dramas that happened within sight and earshot of our home:

  • 2 murders
  • 2 armed robberies
  • A few gun related incidents
  • Numerous break-ins, including one that just happened on the weekend to Harbourview Market
  • Numerous acts of vandalism

And those are only the ones that we know about.  Indeed, every day you hear a variety of sirens, cop cars whizzing by…

We have not escaped the drama, and have been the victims of at least two theft attempts, and a few successful thefts… the unsuccessful ones were our oil tank, and one was the license plate on the car.  People come into our backyard all the time looking for stuff… once they took Gabe’s bike, the other time they took a tent that was set up.

It has gotten to the point that we were seriously considering leaving the neighborhood… we live through too much crazy as it is, it doesn’t make much sense to let external crazy rule your life.

I’ve chatted with a lot of people about this, both those who live in the neighborhood, and those who don’t.  Most of them say… Gentrification is the problem.

But I say that while gentrification can provide more opportunity for property crime, there are addiction issues in this neighborhood.  But… most of it is simple thuggery.  Committed by little wanna be Jimmy Melvin Jrs. who take an opportunity to offend where ever they think they can get away with it, and where it presents itself.

Interestingly, all of the above mentioned crimes that have heard about/seen since 2008 involved white males.  From my understanding, this has led to more white males being racially profiled in this area.

As I’ve been chatting with folks about the neighborhood crime, I’ve heard some interesting stories.  I know of four separate and unrelated white males, who were accosted by the police in this part of town because they fit the description of who they were looking for.  All four men were between the ages of 20 and 40, of various build and performing 4 different tasks at four different times of day when the police approached them.  One was jogging at 5am, one purchasing coffee at Tim Hortons at 12pm, one riding his bike to work at 3pm, and one stepping off the bus at 5pm.  As it was told to me, in one case, a police officer had his gun drawn at the innocent.

It is an extremely complex problem.  You try to bring wealth to the neighborhoods that don’t have much with the hopes it will elevate the neighborhood… but the addicts, and the young males in the area who idolize gangsta lifestyles, or who are involved in gangsta lifestyles, take the opportunity to cash in on the increased concentrations of wealth in their hoods.  As a result, more people “from the neighborhood” get accused of offending against the new upscale residents… even if they welcome the upscale changes and live law-abiding lives.  This makes everyone want to leave the hood, except the actual offenders… who are laughing all the way to the crack house or the pawn shop.

First you have to address wealth gaps…  then you have to remedy addiciton… concurrently figuring out why so many young males (black and white) resort to gangsterhood… all the while executing a level of community policing which is socially just and effective.

I hope they have the best minds on the case… because it seems to be escalating, and in the end, I love Downtown Dartmouth… it is my hood, and I want to see it survive and thrive.

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