Community

Dartmouth North addresses neighbourhood safety concerns after homicides

Speakers at a town hall meeting Monday highlighted importance of coming together

Coun. Tony Mancini and Halifax Regional Police Supt. Don MacLean chat with Doris MacKaracher at the town hall Monday.   Danielle McCreadie

The Dartmouth North Community Centre was bustling on Monday evening, as members of the community gathered to reflect on violence and safety in light of two recent homicides in the neighbourhood.

Derek Miles, 42 and Deborah Irene York, 63, were both found dead; Miles on Jan. 19 and York just days later on Jan. 21. Police say both deaths are homicides, but aren’t connected.

District Coun. Tony Mancini organized the town hall.

“I wanted to address this head on,” said Mancini in an interview Monday morning. “We are doing all that we can to address not just these crimes, but preventing crimes in the future.”

Representatives from Halifax Regional Police, Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Services, United Way and CeaseFire Halifax were there to answer questions. Along with Mancini, Coun. Sam Austin and Coun. Steve Craig were also in attendance.

Mancini hoped residents will walk away from the meeting “feeling reassured and safe in their community,” he said.

Doris MacKaracher, however, said she doesn’t need the reassurance.

She believes her fellow community members will provide protection and solidarity. MacKaracher has lived in Dartmouth North for over 40 years and works with the Dartmouth North Community Food Centre.

“Everybody knows me,” says Doris MacKaracher, who has lived in Dartmouth North for 40 years.   Danielle McCreadie

“I thought it was a good idea to get people out to talk about how they feel,” she said in an interview with The Signal. “To me, I feel safe. I really do.”

She remembers both victims as being members of the tight-knit community. MacKaracher knows almost everyone in the neighbourhood and “everyone knows me,” she said.

“We have to more or less work together, not be scared if something happens, try to talk to people and let them know that we’re there for them. And lots of us are,” she said. “If I get a phone call, I’m there. I will help them as much as I can.”

Quentrel Provo also spoke at the meeting. He is an activist and founder of the Stop the Violence, Spread the Love movement.

Provo urged residents to watch out for one another and help those who need it the most, such as troubled youth or those struggling with mental illness.

“It’s going to take a community to get our community back,” he said. “It’s up to us.”