Pleasant Hill residents hoping to leave after violence in neighbourhood

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Pleasant Hill residents hoping to leave after violence in neighbourhood
WATCH ABOVE: Residents, fearing for safety, want to leave Pleasant Hill – Aug 19, 2019

Chelsea Musqua, a Pleasant Hill neighbourhood resident for almost 20 years, says she wants to leave because she is worried for her children’s safety.

Musqua, who has four children, said she wants to leave the neighbourhood because of the crime in the area. She said that a death on Sunday morning, which occurred a few metres from her house and which the Saskatoon police have deemed to be suspicious, has her especially concerned.

“It makes me feel like worried, very worried, for the safety of my kids,” she said on Monday.

At 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, at least 10 police vehicles were in the vicinity of 20th Street and Avenue S South, very close to where Musqua lives. They were responding to a 911 call about an injured person who later died in hospital. The police later said that the person was 25 years old, that their family did not want their name released and that the major crimes and forensic identification teams are investigating.

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The 20th Street and Avenue S South intersection, and surrounding area were closed off with police tape. That included the alley next to Musqua’s house.

She said seeing the heavy police presence so close to her home was chilling.

“When I see yellow tape like that, it means serious stuff, [like] there’s been like a murder,” she said.

WATCH: (July 8, 2019) City of Saskatoon, police aren’t doing enough to stop crime: Pleasant Hill resident

Click to play video: 'City of Saskatoon, police aren’t doing enough to stop crime: Pleasant Hill resident'
City of Saskatoon, police aren’t doing enough to stop crime: Pleasant Hill resident

Nine homicides have been committed in Saskatoon this year so far — one less than in all of 2018 — and three of them have occurred in Pleasant Hill.

“The way life is right now, it’s very risky and it’s scary,” Musqua said.

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She told Global News that she has applied and been accepted for low-income housing. She is waiting to hear when she will receive accommodation and said she wants to leave as soon as she can.

On July 8, after the three homicides, Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper said in a press conference that there would be an increased police presence in the area and that there was no limit to the resources they would deploy. He also said that plan would be evaluated after one month.

That commitment, police confirmed today, lasted a little more than three weeks.

“We continued on for about 23 or 24 days with that operation plan and daily we would look at our numbers of incidents,” police Supt. Randy Huisman said.

“We saw [about] a 45 per cent decrease in violent and property crime across the board so we slowly pulled out.”

WATCH: (July 23, 2019) Breaking down Saskatoon’s crime severity index

Click to play video: 'Breaking down Saskatoon’s crime severity index'
Breaking down Saskatoon’s crime severity index

Huisman said that deployments are based on the incidences of violent crime and victimization rates — the measure of how many people become victims of violent crimes.

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He said that the guns and gangs unit and regular patrols remain active in the neighbourhood and that the police would likely again increase their presence.

But Wes Desjarlais said he didn’t notice more police in the area at all.

He has lived in Pleasant Hill for three decades and said the crime is getting worse.

He said his sister-in-law’s house was invaded and that his grandchildren’s bikes were stolen out of his yard in June. He also said he drives his grandkids to school, which is only a block away because he worries for their safety.

“It’s kind of almost like being in jail, like being in this area, because you got to be so careful where you go, [even in] broad daylight you got to be careful where you go,” he said.

He said he is also hoping to leave the area.

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“I’ve got grandkids, I can’t afford to have people shooting guns around this area. And it happens so, so many times.”

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