Despite recent police shootings, gun violence is going down in Edmonton

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Firearm unit has been a increasing problem successful Edmonton for years and this past play was nary exception, erstwhile residents surviving adjacent Commonwealth Stadium awoke to nan sound of gunshots overnight.

On Sunday, June 9, 2024, astir 4:40 a.m., constabulary responded to an battle astatine a location adjacent 109 Avenue and 93 Street, wherever a 911 telephone came successful that a 33-year-old man had assaulted different man astatine nan home.

Police arrived to a fishy coming retired of nan location carrying a weapon. Shortly afterwards, nan man was changeable successful a confrontation pinch Edmonton constabulary and suffered life-threatening injuries.

He was treated and taken to hospital, wherever he was stabilized. Police said a gunshot was recovered to person deed a neighbouring home, but nary 1 successful nan location was injured.

Incidents involving equipped civilians are now much communal than ever, according to Staff Sgt. Eric Stewart pinch nan EPS guns and gangs section. He has spoken astir nan rumor astatine magnitude galore times successful caller years.

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“Our front-line patrol members are faced pinch much and much firearms being connected our street, showing up successful postulation stops, showing up successful stolen vehicles. We’re seeing it much successful our investigations present successful organized crime branch. So, location are much firearms connected our street,” he said successful an question and reply pinch Global News connected Tuesday.

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Sunday’s incident was nan 5th shooting involving an Edmonton Police Service serviceman truthful acold successful 2024.

Global News reached retired to ASIRT to talk astir nan incidents but nan authorities agency said it was incapable to springiness an question and reply aliases supply immoderate information, adding questions astir usage of unit should beryllium directed to Edmonton police. Conversely, EPS said questions astir constabulary shootings request to spell done ASIRT.

University of Alberta criminologist Temitope Oriola said that class is up successful our state per capita.

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“Alberta leads nan measurement nationally pinch respect to shootings of civilians by nan police. This has been nan lawsuit for astatine slightest a mates of years,” he said.

Each constabulary shooting involves different circumstances but Oriola said perceptions are important and nan numbers interest him.

“It creates a problem for that narration of spot that ought to beryllium betwixt constabulary services and nan communities that they serve.”

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That said, there’s immoderate room for optimism. The weapon calls Edmonton constabulary are called to, while still higher than they erstwhile were, are starting to travel down.

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In May, location were 10 reported shootings, which is down 50 per cent from May of 2023 erstwhile location were 20.

Of nan 10 reported shootings, constabulary said 5 are believed to beryllium targeted and 8 resulted successful injuries. In 4 of nan 10 shootings, location was imaginable for guiltless bystanders to beryllium harmed. There was 1 death.

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In 2024, there’s been 56 shootings successful full — down 27 per cent compared to nan aforesaid clip past year, erstwhile nan metropolis was astatine 78.

“We’re happy to spot nan numbers are trending down. Of course, we’re comparing to past year’s numbers — past twelvemonth we had a spike successful our shooting numbers. The highest we’ve seen successful galore years,” Stewart said.

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2:02 University of Alberta criminologist weighs successful connected Edmonton’s weapon unit problem plaguing metropolis streets

Last year, Oriola told Global News location was nary 1 azygous facet driving crime successful Edmonton, but noted it seems to beryllium a operation of socio-economic factors and nan increasing pains of being a large city.

Stewart said while 2023 was an anomaly, nan metropolis has consistently seen 150 aliases much shootings annually for nan past 3 aliases truthful years — thing he besides acknowledged comes pinch being a growing, awesome city.

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“We sewage to expect these type of things are going to hap but from us, from nan constabulary side, is really do we pivot? How do we transition? How do we refocus our resources connected immoderate of these flare ups because weapon unit is simply a problem,” he said, adding it isn’t conscionable an rumor for nan criminals shooting astatine each different and nan officers who respond to nan violence.

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“It affects besides nan nationalist — immoderate of these brazen-type events happening successful daylight hours and nationalist settings.”

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The limb of prime erstwhile it comes to unit changed astir about 8 years agone successful Canada, Oriola noted.

“Firearms replaced knives and different crisp objects arsenic nan limb of prime for homicides arsenic acold backmost arsenic 2016, according to Statistics Canada. And that is significant,” Oriola said, noting while different convulsive crimes person increased, shootings nationwide have.

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“This is simply a nationalist phenomenon. It’s not restricted to our state aliases metropolis and clearly, a root of immense concern.”

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Every twelvemonth is different, Stewart noted: beryllium it turf wars, gangs going aft each different aliases random violence.

In response, EPS boosted resources successful nan organized crime branch: a 2nd pack suppression portion was launched past fall, and a 2nd firearms investigation portion came together successful early 2024. The narcotics and pack squad besides received much resources, he said.

“What we’re looking astatine is simply a multi-faceted attack connected targeting immoderate of these groups. If we spot individuals aliases groups progressive successful these shooting events, we’re trying to attraction our efforts connected those pinch our new, bolster resources — but besides looking astatine utilizing different investigative areas successful nan city. Also, our frontline members are assisting successful that arsenic well.

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“So it’s a batch of efforts by everybody to tackle it.”

The Edmonton Police Service has besides seized less firearms this year. After months of increases past year, nan EPS is pleased to spot a alteration successful direction.

“Really successful October (2023), until now, we’ve seen a dependable decrease. You know, period to month. We’ve had a mates flare ups present and there, which we’re going to have,” Stewart said.

Police seized 70 firearms successful May, and 332 wide successful 2024. This clip past year, 521 firearms were seized successful nan aforesaid clip period.

“Even though nan seizure numbers are down, nan consequence is still precocious retired location to our front-line rank successful our officers,” Stewart said.

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