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Public safety task force tackles violent crimes on Calgary streets

Public safety task force targets guns and gangs as violent crime on the rise in Calgary
WATCH: Calgary’s newly-formed public safety task force met on Friday to try to get an understanding of what's fueling violent crimes in the city. As Tracy Nagai reports, police said if shootings continue at the current rate in 2020, they’re on track to surpass last year’s numbers.

Calgary’s newly-formed public safety task force met for a second time on Friday to try and better understand what’s fuelling violent crimes throughout the city.

“Public safety is a concern for Calgarians,” Ward 5 Councillor George Chahal said. “I’ve heard this loud and clear since I started talking about this over a year ago.”

In February, city council unanimously voted to approve the community-based task force made up of community stakeholders and volunteers.

Read more: Public safety task force given green light by Calgary city council

“This is about government working with the police service and the community to make change and look at new ideas and better ways to tackle this issue,” Chahal said.

The meeting comes following a violent month which saw at least six shootings and two homicides in Calgary.

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In the first weekend of June, police were called to a deadly shooting in an Eau Claire parkade and to reports of shots fired in the communities of Taradale and Castleridge.

Read more: Canada-wide warrants issued for suspects in fatal Eau Claire shooting

Later that month, police also responded to reports of gun play in the communities of Marlborough, Cambrian Heights and Altadore.

The following week, police began investigating the homicide of a 35-year-old man whose body was discovered in a Marlborough home.

Read more: Calgary police investigate suspicious death in Marlborough

In a presentation on Friday, police said violent crimes have been increasing since 2016 and shootings in 2020 are on track to surpass 2019’s 89 shootings city-wide.

Police also said officers have been seizing more guns believed to be involved in crimes.

“There have been more this year than last year, and that is a concern for us,” CPS Supt. Ryan Jepson said. “We’re working actively with our partners to determine where those guns are coming from.”

Read more: Calgary police investigating potential shooting at northeast Holiday Inn

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The task force plans to reach out to Calgarians in the following weeks and months to discuss how best to take action.

“It’s not something we’re going to solve overnight,” Chahal said. “It’s going to take time, but we’re all committed to finding meaningful solutions.”