What’s behind violent crime in Edmonton?

Monday night’s shooting at West Edmonton Mall is another in a list of shootings and deaths in the city in the past few weeks. What’s behind the rise in violent crime?

When gunfire rang out at West Edmonton Mall Monday night, it added to the list of recent violent crimes in the city.

Those who study crime say there are immediate and long-term solutions to the problem.

“Who gets released, under what conditions, where are they released to, are they releasing them back to their home neighbourhoods? In which case they may return to criminal associates and peers. Are they being monitored as a course of audit?” stated Temitope Oriola, a professor at the University of Alberta.


Better surveillance of criminals released back into the public is one immediate solution Professor Oriola says could address an increase in violent crime in the city.

Data from Statistics Canada shows violent crime has increased six per cent in the last four years.

The shooting at West Edmonton Mall followed a shooting death on Whyte Avenue just days before. That’s in addition to a shooting death in central Edmonton nearly two weeks ago.


Oriola says along with stricter monitoring of those released from prison, more investment in social agencies is another part of the answer.

“Social welfare service agencies — both those that belong to the government directly and non-governmental organizations — have suffered some of the most severe cuts in funding within the last 5-10 years. we are seeing the consequences right now,” Oriola explained.

Others who study crime say events like the shooting at WEM Monday, does a lot to undermine the public sense of safety.

“When it goes up — it does not come down quickly. It can oftentimes take a year or so for a person to start to feel comfortable. Even then they may decide not to go to that particular location,” explained Doug King, professor of justice studies at Mount Royal University.

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