Quality of life in our neighbourhoods

Halifax Regional Police created this brochure to educate residents on common offences, repercussions for being an offender and what to do if you experience a quality-of-life issue. (PDF)

In September, Halifax becomes home to thousands of students who attend Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University and University of King's College. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students who are attending campus in person must adhere to regulations as outlined by the Government of Nova Scotia. Everyone is strongly encouraged to educate themselves on these requirements by visiting novascotia.ca/coronavirus

Every year, police respond to complaints related to the actions of students who live both on and off campus. In that regard, this year is no different. The major neighbourhood concern is noise, but we also receive complaints of liquor offences, property damage and by-law offences such as unsightly premises. In many cases, the offenders aren’t aware of the impact their actions have on their neighbours or other members of the community. The communities around the universities are made up of a mixture of single-family houses and rental properties primarily utilized by students. Disruptive behaviour is not acceptable. As Halifax residents, everyone is expected to ensure their actions don’t negatively impact the quality-of-life in our community.

What we’re doing 

Each September, we launch Operation Fall-Back, an approach that consists of education, outreach and enforcement as necessary. Operation Fall-Back runs throughout the month of September and features directed enforcement and additional patrol in known complaint areas around these communities. 

Common offences

Please note that warnings don’t have to be given prior to a ticket being issued.

Liquor Control Act

Section 78     (2)    Illegally possessing liquor (having open liquor in public, which

                                   includes going next door/across the street, or possessing it

                                   under age) - $467.50

Section 78     (3a)  Under-age drinking - $295

Section 87     (1)    Being intoxicated in public place - $134

Section 95     (a)     Permitting drunkenness to take place in any house or any

                                   premises of which he/she is the owner, tenant or

                                   occupant - mandatory court appearance

You don’t have to be intoxicated to be charged for illegally possessing liquor or under age drinking. If you are intoxicated, you can be charged and/or held until you are sober.

Cannabis Control Act

Section 16     (1)    No person under the age of 19 shall possess, distribute,

                                   consume, purchase or attempt to purchase cannabis - $295

Section 5A     (1)    No person may smoke in a public place - up to $2,000

Environment Act

Section 99     (2)    Releasing litter into environment contrary to Act or regulations

                                   - $467.50

Noise By-law N-200

Section 3 (1)       Engaging in activity that unreasonably disturbs neighbourhood

- 1st offence - $467.50       - 2nd offence - $927.50      - 3rd offence - $1,272.50

This section may be used for, but is not limited to:

• loud voices, yelling/screaming from a house or pedestrians;

• loud televisions or music, which can include the volume and/or the bass level;

• loud parties.

This by-law is in effect 24/7.

Residents are responsible for their own behaviour as well as that of their roommates and guests. Any action that unreasonably disturbs the neighbourhood will result in charges. Severe incidents may result in criminal charges being laid. Visit novascotia.ca/just/regulations/sots/NSSOTbooklet.pdf for more information on the Noise By-law.

Mischief/property damage

Criminal Code - 430 (1)

                         Everyone commits mischief who willfully:

                         (a)   destroys or damages property;

                          (b)   renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

                          (c)   obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use,

                                 enjoyment or operation of property;

                          (d)   obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful

                                 use, enjoyment or operation of property.

Criminal Code - 430 (4)

                         Everyone who commits mischief in relation to property:

                          (a)   is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for

                                 a term not exceeding two years; or

                          (b)   is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Causing a disturbance

Criminal Code - 175 (1)

                          Everyone who:

                          (a)   not being in a dwelling-house, causes a disturbance in or near

                                 a public place,

                                          (i) by fighting, screaming, shouting, swearing, singing or

                                              using insulting or obscene language,

                                          (ii) by being drunk, or

                                          (iii) by impeding or molesting other persons,

                          (b)   openly exposes or exhibits an indecent exhibition in a public place,

                          (c)   loiters in a public place and in any way obstructs persons who

                                 are in that place, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary

                                 conviction.

Please note that all fines indicated are subject to change.

When do I contact my Divisional Office?

Your first step is to report incidents to police as soon as you are aware of them (see numbers below). You can call the Divisional Office after-the-fact and we’ll work with you to reduce crime and address ongoing quality-of-life issues in your community including:

• Excessive noise      • Traffic violations          • Property damage           • Break and enters      

• Loitering                    • Thefts                          • COVID-19 violations

Central Divisional Office – 902.490.6070    Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Halifax Regional Police Headquarters, 1975 Gottingen Street, Halifax 

In case of an emergency, call 911.

A situation is considered to be an emergency if someone’s life or property is in immediate danger or if an incident is in-progress. In-progress is defined as currently happening, the suspect may still be in the immediate area and/or the victim is still in danger.

Reporting an incident

Call 902.490.5020 to report incidents that require an officer to come to the scene, including break and enters where it’s obvious the culprit is no longer present and noise complaints in-progress.

Call 902.490.5016 for general inquiries and/or to report crimes not in-progress. 

Other common quality-of-life issues

Call 311 for non-emergency municipal government services in Halifax, including animal-related public safety and nuisance issues, unsightly properties, garbage collection and parking enforcement.

Tips for being a good neighbour:

Remember that you are a part of the community and a representative of your university/college.

  • Stay informed on COVID-19 directives and enforcement measures. Visit the Government of Nova Scotia's website for more COVID-19 information.
  • Be aware of how your actions affect your neighbours and community. If your neighbours have young children or have to get up early, late night noise may be an issue for them.
  • Take pride in your community by keeping your property neat and tidy. While  landlords may be responsible for cutting grass and snow removal, in most cases, tenants are responsible for garbage and other issues that make a property unsightly.
  • Educate yourself on garbage collection times and regulations, visit: Visit halifax.ca/home-property/garbage-recycling-green-cart/garbage-collection for more information.