Mayor Hall Reacts to Recent Acts of Violence
Prince George, B.C. – Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall has weighed in on the recent shootings that have shaken Prince George.
The first occurred 10 days ago at a residence on Freeman Street where stray bullets narrowly missed an innocent family.
The other ended in tragedy last week when a 30-year old man was gunned down in front of a home at the corner of Ospika Boulevard and Forest Avenue.
Police have said both incidents were targeted and related to the drug trade.
“My immediate reaction was I’m very concerned. The first shooting, when innocent people are in jeopardy, that concerns me to no end. I’m just grateful that particular family wasn’t injured,” says Hall.
In light of the shootings though, he still believes the community is a safe place to live.
“You talk about what happened with the two shootings and obviously they’re gang related. There’s an element in every city, including ours, where you have criminal activity and the RCMP are doing a great job to try to mitigate all of that.”
Hall also says his council has taken a proactive stance on crime since his term began, starting with agreeing to fund extra police officers.
“So the RCMP came to us, asked for us to enhance the workforce there and so we’ve got approval for three new members and one civilian staff member. That’s going to help out in their complement of members and the work they’re able to do.”
He says council has also made strides in their remedial action work. “Not just the neglected buildings or properties, but we’ve taken a look at two areas and closed the Willow Inn and the Connaught because we are concerned about the crime element,” says Hall.
“That I think in itself tells the community we’re trying to make it a safer community and by not having those two locations up and running and operating as they had been with the crime element around them, I think it’s made us a safer community.”
Despite the progress, he acknowledges that perception sometimes trumps reality, and that some critics may point out Prince George isn’t the safe community he says it is.
“You’re right, perception sometimes as you say is reality and I know we’re going to hear those comments. I know I’m going to hear them and council members are going to hear ‘oh, another shooting in Prince George.’ It kind of goes along with what happened a few years ago,” says Hall.
“I absolutely get that but as I’ve said people can say what they want to say and I think part of our job as a community is to show the good things that take place. This is a strong, vibrant community, it’s an energetic community and we have a number of good things happening here over the last number of years and we continue to do that.”