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Edmonton mayor calls on Alberta government for help after random northside stabbings

Click to play video: 'Edmonton mayor calls on the province for help after random northside stabbings'
Edmonton mayor calls on the province for help after random northside stabbings
The random stabbings in north Edmonton's Homesteader area shook the community and now Mayor Amarjeet Sohi is once again asking the Alberta government to step up and help the city's most vulnerable. Sarah Komadina has more – Sep 9, 2022

Family and friends of north Edmonton stabbing victim Brian Berland, along with people who never met him, gathered to honour the 38-year-old on Thursday night.

The heartbreak and shock amongst the crowd was palpable.

“It helps a bit, knowing that so many people loved him and cared about him just as much as I did,” Brian’s niece Shaelynn Berland said.

Click to play video: 'Man killed in Edmonton stabbings hailed a hero as homicide investigation continues'
Man killed in Edmonton stabbings hailed a hero as homicide investigation continues

On Sept. 7, around 2:30 p.m., three people were stabbed in the area of Hermitage Road and Henry Avenue in the Homesteader neighbourhood.

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Police said a man stabbed a woman at a bus stop, and then went into a nearby wooded ravine and stabbed another woman in a tent. He then left and stabbed Berland multiple times.

Clarence Lawrence, 25, has been charged with second-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

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There have been multiple violent fatal crimes in the middle of the day in Edmonton this year.

In April, a 16-year-old was fatally stabbed while waiting for a bus at McNally High School.

In June, two men in their sixties were brutally and fatally attacked in Chinatown.

University of Alberta criminology professor Temitope Oriola said not all crimes can be prevented by police.

“In moments like this, the tendency is that the police need more resources. While it seems like a policing problem, it is, in fact, not fundamentally a policing problem — this is a social problem,” Oriola said.

“Our best shot is nested in tackling some of the underlying social variables that we know provide the atmosphere for violent crime to develop.”

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Oriola said the onus is on society to reduce the potential for “such individuals to be produced.”

Click to play video: 'North Edmonton community on edge after random stabbing attacks'
North Edmonton community on edge after random stabbing attacks

Edmonton mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the province needs to provide more funding to help address issues that lead to addictions and homelessness.

“At the end of the day, these issues are health and related to mental health — addictions crisis and housing crisis — and those are provincial responsibilities,” Sohi said.

The province said in a statement to Global News, “Alberta’s government will continue working with the City to provide support for social services and public safety, however, it remains primarily the City’s responsibility to ensure safety on the streets of Edmonton.”

The province also outlined ways it is hoping to prevent violent crimes.

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“At the provincial level, our work and investments to protect Albertans and improve public safety in communities throughout the province, including Edmonton, do not start and stop with this safety plan. They also include a provincial policing grant of more than $26.1 million this year, as well as numerous investments in public safety made by the province.”

Those like Berland’s family aren’t thinking about who should be tacking the issue — but they’re hoping someone does.

Brian’s brother-in-law Allen Frost has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs.

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