A number of ideas to address and prevent crime were released in a final report today, May 23, by the Minister’s Task Force on Safer Streets and Communities. The report is the result of provincewide consultations and will be used to help government develop a provincial crime prevention strategy. “Task force members have done a tremendous job of reaching out to their fellow citizens,” said Murray Scott, Minister of Justice. “This information will be critical to creating a community based crime prevention strategy that reflects the needs and wants of our communities.” Key issues identified during consultations include the impact of youth crime and the need to ensure youth feel attached and involved in their school and communities. Participants said changing social values were contributing to crime, and need to be addressed through improved access to services, along with support to help parents supervise and appropriately discipline their children. Limitations of the Youth Criminal Justice Act were also identified as an issue. “During consultations we heard very personal stories from people whose lives were touched by crime, along with those who were playing an active role in preventing crime in their communities,” said Oralee O’Byrne, co-chair of the task force. “While we know that there is not a single solution, it is clear that we need to balance prevention with enforcement measures that help people feel safe.” The task force identified actions to both prevent and address crime. Among the recommended priorities are enhancing early intervention programs; improved access to recreation facilities; funding for community crime prevention groups; addressing racism; adding police officers; and stiffer sentencing. “People want to play an active role in preventing crime, but they need the right supports to help them make their communities safer,” said task force co-chair and Halifax Regional Police Chief Frank Beazley. “This report helps set a direction and calls for action by individuals, community leaders, organizations and all levels of government. We did not do this just to point out problems — we wanted to get at the solutions and the community has really responded.” The Minister’s Task Force on Safer Streets and Communities included 25 volunteer community members who held 44 meetings across the province in February and March. Through these meetings and written submissions the Task Force heard from more than 800 Nova Scotians, and also received more than 2,000 hits to its website. The report can be viewed online at www.gov.ns.ca/just .
On 4 May, an attack by ethnic Misseriya pastoralist tribesmen on the UN convoy resulted in the deaths of Ngok Dinka Paramount Chief Kuol Deng Kuol and an Ethiopian peacekeeper, while wounding two other UN blue helmets in the process. In a statement released today, the 15-member Council expressed its condolences to the families of those killed in the attack and reiterated its full support for UNISFA by calling on all parties in the Abyei area “to exercise maximum restraint, to cooperate fully with the mission, and to use mechanisms they have put in place to facilitate an effective investigation” into the acts of violence.In addition, the Council welcomed the Government of Sudan’s announcement of an “urgent, transparent, thorough, and fair” investigation into the incident as well as the Government of South Sudan’s continuing commitment to UNISFA. The attack was the latest episode of violence in an ongoing feud pitting Ngok Dinka farmers against the Misseriya – two groups which have repeatedly clashed in the past, particularly in the area between Sudan and South Sudan which lacks clearly demarcated borders.Due to the highly contested nature of Abyei, a 20 June 2011 Agreement signed by the Government of Sudan and representatives of South Sudan, ahead of its official independence, called for the area’s demilitarization and the establishment of an administrative and police service.The following week, the Security Council established UNISFA to oversee progress on the Agreement, and authorized the blue helmets to use force to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.“The members of the Security Council underline the critical importance of immediate and full implementation of the agreements reached between Sudan and South Sudan as well as the need for continued hard work by all relevant parties to resolve the details and outstanding issues that remain to be agreed, including the final status of Abyei,” the statement added.