Calls for creation of task force to stop escalating gun and gang violence in Calgary
CALGARY -- A Calgary city councillor and the mayor want to see a public safety task force created to reduce gun-related violence in the city.
According to a notice of motion by Ward 5 councillor George Chahal and Mayor Nenshi, there are growing concerns regarding public safety given the recent increase in violence connected to guns, gangs and drugs in Calgary.
The motion calls for the creation of a task for to work with community partners and stakeholders, including the Calgary Police Service, to review and make recommendations about existing programs in the community. The group would also look at other jurisdictions to see what is or isn’t working to improve public safety.
"This is about protecting residents in the city of Calgary but it's also about making sure we provide the right supports for future generations so we don't have an epidemic that we've had in other municipalities in North America," said Chahal. "It's about being prudent. It's about taking actions. It's about being proactive and it's about doing the right thing."
The proposal comes in what’s been a violent start to 2020 in Calgary, with four homicides, including two fatal shootings, in the first few weeks alone.
Following a fatal shooting in early January, CPS Chief Constable Mark Neufeld said curbing the violence is the service’s number one priority. He said the majority of the recent shootings were tied to drugs and gangs but there is always concern about the public’s safety and the risk of an innocent bystander getting hurt.
According to Calgary Police Service officials, there were nearly 90 shooting incidents in Calgary in 2019. Nearly twice as many as there were in 2018 (47 shooting incidents).
The motion will be presented to the Priorities & Finance Committee Tuesday.
If passed, it calls for council to direct administration to work with interested members of council to prepare a briefing on the creation of the task force by mid-March.