Police investigate rash of robberies
In light of a recent rash of robberies, police have analyzed all similar calls in the area of the Halifax Common. As a result, investigators in the General Investigation Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division are investigating an additional robbery along with six previously reported robberies that occurred over the last four weeks in Halifax – two on November 7, one November 8, one on November 15, one on November 19 and two on November 29.
At about 7:40 pm on November 8, a man was walking through the Commons in Halifax when two male suspects approached him and demanded his phone and other articles. The victim complied and removed his backpack, after which the two suspects stuck the victim with a pipe and stick numerous times. The suspects then fled the area with the victim’s backpack and other items. The area was checked but the suspects couldn’t be located. The victim received minor injuries but didn’t attend the hospital. The suspects were described as two black males. One of the men was 5’8”, wearing baggy clothing, a black hoodie and had his face covered. The second man is described as 6’3” with a thin build who was walking with a stick and was wearing a beige jacket with a collar and a black hoodie underneath (this incident was previously reported on the Media Report at 4:42 a.m. on November 9).
On November 19, officers responded to a report of a robbery that had occurred in the area of Cogswell Street by the Emera Oval between 9-9:30 p.m. A 21-year-old man had been assaulted with a sensory irritant and was also kicked in the chest as well as threatened with a knife. The victim’s wallet and wireless headphones were stolen by a man who fled the area. The victim was not injured in this assault and did not require medical attention. The lone suspect was described as a male of unknown ethnicity, approximately 6’4” to 6’5”, wearing dark clothing and had his hands covered with a wrap or bandana.
Due to the circumstances of these incidents, investigators are exploring whether they may be connected to five other previously released incidents which can be viewed at http://apps.halifax.ca/news/article/3273
To address these senseless crimes, police are continuing to bring together multiple resources, including Patrol Officers, Community Response Officers, School Resource Officers Quick Response Unit members as well as the divisional Crime Analyst. They’re working collectively to investigate the rash of assaults, gather intelligence to identify suspects, and patrol the affected area through special checks and foot patrols in the area where the assaults have been occurring. Officers are also seeking the public’s assistance to identify the people responsible for these robberies. Anyone who has information about the incidents and/or the suspects is asked to call 902-490-5016. Information can also be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca.
While the people victimized haven’t done anything wrong, officers are concerned that the suspects are targeting people who are walking alone or in small groups while it’s dark, particularly in the early morning hours. Officers are also concerned that the suspects are specifically targeting areas that aren’t well lit or don’t have a lot of foot or vehicle traffic and that they may, on occasion, be seeking victims who are intoxicated and may be less able to defend themselves or recall the details of the incident/suspects. We feel it’s important to provide this context to citizens so that they’re fully informed about the suspects’ actions and can make important choices about their own personal safety. We also feel compelled to provide citizens with personal safety tips:
• Walk in well-lit and well-travelled areas of high pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Avoid short cuts through alleys, parks, vacant lots or unlit areas.
• Be aware of your surroundings, be alert and walk with confidence. Don’t talk on your phone or appear to be otherwise distracted, as criminals are more likely to target someone who appears inattentive or afraid.
• If you’ve been drinking, a perpetrator may view you as being more vulnerable so consider arranging for a designated driver or taking a cab instead of walking.
• Tell someone where you’re going, what route you’re taking and when you’ll be back so they’ll know your plans which may allow them to recognize if something’s amiss.
• Carry a cellphone.
• If you suspect you’re being followed, cross the street, go to the nearest business and call police.
• If you’re verbally harassed, don't respond. Keep walking and notify the police when it's safe to do so.
• Wear your purse under your coat or carry a money clip.
• Don’t carry large sums of money or unnecessary valuables. Use cash alternatives such as debit cards.
• If someone demands your property, comply with the suspects’ demands for your personal effects as your personal safety is more important than possessions.
• If you are being robbed, throw your wallet/purse/belongings as far as you can behind the criminal, and then run in the opposite direction screaming “fire” as opposed to “help” to get people’s attention. The criminal will be more inclined to retrieve your belongings than chase a person who is attracting attention.
• If you’ve been victimized, go to a safe area and call the police immediately. The sooner police know, the more quickly officers can respond and investigate.