Regina’s danger zones
In 2012, Regina was ranked Canada’s fifth most dangerous city
Article: Victoria Dinh – Contributor
Matthew Hill is a 25-year-old father who lives in a house next door to Regina’s most recent homicide. For the past five years, Hill has been living in his home just north of Dewdney Avenue and east of Broad Street.
“It’s kind of weird,” Hill says. “All the violence out here, you can tell it’s the same house on every block.”
His home was initially an investment made in partnership with his cousin, but now with the shooting death of the 18-year-old man next door, Hill refers to his house as “a business plan gone wrong.”
Hill says, “All of these houses have kids, and you kind of just see some odd stuff that’s not the best. I’ve seen some needles in the house [next door]. I don’t let [my daughter] play outside alone. If she’s out, I’m out with her.”
In 2012, Maclean’s magazine ranked Regina as the fifth most dangerous city in Canada. This past month, the Queen City has reached its ninth homicide of the year. With most of the incidents happening in the inner city regions of Regina, members of these neighborhoods are growing weary of the constant crime.
West of Hill’s neighborhood is North Central, an inner city neighborhood that has a disproportionate amount of crime compared to the rest of Regina.
Jasmine McDonald is new to the community. Her family relocated to Regina from Saskatoon after her mother purchased a reasonably priced house in the area. She had heard rumors of the gang related incidents previous to her move, and as a 19-year-old female, she doesn’t feel too comfortable with the activity happening so near to her.
“I don’t really like to walk around by myself,” McDonald says. “I don’t feel safe.”
Michael Parker, director of community services at the North Central Community Association (NCCA), says that they do their best to program initiatives from a community perspective. North Central, in terms of demographics, has the highest amount of low income for the city. It also has the oldest amount of housing stock where many people have high needs, but don’t always have the necessary tools to fulfill those needs. That’s where the NCCA come in.
Most recently, a major concern of the occupants of the district is alleyways. It’s where most of the foot traffic takes place, and it’s also where a lot of violent activity occurs.
“We have the ‘Renew’ project, which is a new thing for us,” Parker explains about the NCCA. “We do focused cleanups in specific alleys along with surveying residents about what they feel are some of the needs and issues.”
Parker says that the NCCA is trying their best to take steps to meet the concerns of the community, but they can only do so much.
The NCCA is also working alongside the Regina Police to make the residents feel safer. The police have a Community Services Division that is located on Athol Street in the midst of the North Central neighborhood. They have taken the initiative to step up when issues are raised around the North Central area.Image: ccyyrree