Violent Amherst?

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The graph published this week in a Toronto-based newspaper is telling: in 2010, 80 people were murdered in the city.

In the wake of a backyard barbecue shooting incident in the big city – two dead, more than 20 injured – safety would seem to be one more reason to celebrate being a Maritimer.

But look a little closer at the graph, and another statistic comes to the forefront. With 1.4 murders per 100,000 people, Toronto’s murder rate was below the national average of 1.62. And Halifax was well above the national rate: 11 murders (2.73 per 100,000).

That’s Halifax, though. We all know Halifax has a violence problem, right?

Wrong. Amherst had more violent crime in 2010, and by quite a margin.

The provincial average in 2010 was 156 violent crimes per 10,000 people, according to the Nova Scotia government. Halifax had 155 incidents – one below the provincial average.

Amherst was way up in the stratosphere, with 329 violent crimes per 10,000 people – more than double the rate of Halifax, a city with a murder rate substantially higher than Toronto’s.

Still feeling safe?

The good news is we live in a safe country, so even the “dangerous” parts of it are still safe by international standards. And stats change. Violent crime went up more than 40 per cent in Amherst from 2009 to 2010, for example, while shootings seem to be up this year in Toronto.

Clearly, though, we have no reason to feel smug. The province includes what it calls “risk factors” in its stats. In 2010, the Amherst area had lower incomes than the provincial average, collected more government transfers, had less education, higher unemployment and fewer people in professional occupations. Among families, fewer of us were married than the average, and more of us were in common-law or single-parent circumstances…

…none of which guarantee any particular person will become a criminal, of course, but all of which probably leads to a statistically higher incidence of crime overall.

We have a good community here. But it could be better. And turning a blind eye to problems won’t solve them.

Geographic location: Amherst, Toronto, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Linda
    May 17, 2014 - 19:23

    this report is pathetic,this small town needs the RCMP,There is no respect in this town for our local police force,and they because of their biasis are not respected and done nothing to earn respect,therefore the people of Amherst will continue this crime rate,and as faras emoployment people will not work because as long as they are not forced to apply for these jobs they will stay in the system,they need to be forced to get off of the system,and work as I have to,and not depend on the Government to hand them over a cheque..This report makes me feel ashamed that I wasorn and raised in such a small town with a high crime rate etc.I believe that we all should have to work,and not depend on others and the A.P.D has to stop favoring people over others,and stop this buddy-buddy system.

  • Jason
    July 25, 2012 - 09:30

    really amherst violent? define violent crime....

  • know it all
    July 23, 2012 - 21:19

    Three people needing crying towels , it doesnt matter where u live crime is still going to happen , if you dont like Amherst then move on - you wont a part of the problem anymore

  • No Changes
    July 20, 2012 - 21:19

    I remember a national report coming out in the early 70s showing Amherst as having the second highest crime rate per cap in Canada. Burnt Church NB had the highest. So I guess not much has changes over the years.

  • not surprised
    July 20, 2012 - 13:59

    I must say this town should be ashamed of themselves!!!10.000 people and the crime rate was this bad,and continues to be this way!!!THE LAW has to be stricter aroud this town and the APD has to stop having a buddy-buddy system and be strict also!ALSO these people are from low income familllies here,when I read the court news I recognize the name(s) and because this is a town where about 65% on assistance 25 % senior pension and 10% employed our crime rate will continue,I blame this on our laws in AMHERST,they are not being strict enough and when this happens our crime rate will slow down.I personally wished the death penalty was baclk in CANADA!!!That would definitly make a difference!!!

    • Mandy
      July 20, 2012 - 19:44

      I was born in Amherst and lived there all of my life until I left it forever five years ago. I can tell you that tougher laws and tougher cops will not save this place, or improve anything at all. The fact is, with Amherst, is that unless you come from old money, or come from a family with strong connections in the town, the children born into this slum of a town hit a brick wall when they make attempts to grow up. There is nothing for young people to do but fall into a vicious circle of drugs, alcohol and other vices, which leads to young parenthood, and generation after generation of undereducated, underemployed people who don't see another life for themselves. Those with ambition leave. Most don't because they feel trapped, or simply don't see the possibilites. The whole town really reminds me of the slum of a much larger city, such as the one I live in now. It's a dead end.