Miramichi to get $821K in federal money to prevent crime

·3 min read
Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicinomade the crime-prevention announcement in Miramichi, alongside Mayor Adam Lordon and Deputy Chief Brian Cummings.  (Public Safety Canada - image credit)
Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicinomade the crime-prevention announcement in Miramichi, alongside Mayor Adam Lordon and Deputy Chief Brian Cummings. (Public Safety Canada - image credit)

Miramichi will receive $821,000 from the federal government for efforts to prevent crime and gun violence in the city.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino announced the money on Thursday as part of the Building Safer Communities Fund, whihch consists of $250 million to support programs across Canada aimed at preventing crime.

"This is a proud and resilient city and a place that has seen its amazing share of successes and positive contributions, but has also seen some challenges in regard to public safety and crime," Mendicino said.

"These crimes are happening more and more in public areas, often in daylight."

He said the money will be distributed to local organizations that tackle gun violence and "set young people up for success."

Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press
Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press

Mendicino said these institutions could include a women's shelter or at-risk youth organization, but they must apply to be a part of the program.

"My department will work very closely with the City of Miramichi to ensure that we distribute those funds in a way that helps to leverage their experience and wisdom on what works for Miramichi," he said.

The city will spearhead the application process.

Miramichi Mayor Adam Lordon said the money will help the city address vulnerable populations, especially youth, and mental health and addictions problems in the community.

I can tell you hardly a week goes by that we don't seize a gun now in a criminal circumstance. - Brian Cummings, Miramichi deputy police chief

"Here in Miramichi, dealing with crime is not just an enforcement issue, but also a prevention issue," said Lordon.  "Preventing crime is not simply a criminal issue but a social one.

"That's why we're so pleased with today's announcement because these funds will allow us to address the underlying social issues that lead to crime."

Lordon said the city doesn't have a prevalence of gangs or significant gun violence, but crime in general has risen, especially involving addictions.

Miramichi Deputy Chief Brian Cummings said in the last three or four years the police have seen an increase in firearm seizures.

These have included seizures from drug busts and vehicle stops.

Radio-Canada
Radio-Canada

"That's not something that we saw nine or 10 years ago, but we see it much more today," said

"I can tell you hardly a week goes by that we don't seize a gun now in a criminal circumstance and it's almost always connected to drugs in some way, shape or form." 

Mendicino said the criminal use of guns has risen by 81 per cent between 2009 and 2019 across Canada.

"It's not a phenomenon that's restricted to this community, but a trend we've been seeing right across the country."

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

The Department of Public Safety is trying to pass regulation C-21, which would put a freeze on handguns across the country, put in place red flag laws, and raise maximum sentences for organized criminals.

"Nearly eight out of 10 Canadians agree with this law because it makes sense … it's backed by law enforcement, because it's backed by victims and survivors of women's groups," said Mendocino.

He said the department will soon launch a buy-back program to get weapons off the streets.