STREET VIOLENCE WATCH
Thursday, July 16 2015
BY PAMELA ROTH,
An increase in violent home invasions throughout the city is causing concern among Edmonton police.
So far this month, officers have investigated 10 home invasions and approximately 60 this year, working out to an average of about eight per month.
They aren’t limited to one specific group, said police, and are targeted towards people involved in the drug culture. Random home invasions are rare, but there have been occasions where suspects have targeted the wrong house. Many of them have turned violent.
“It’s one drug group ripping off another drug group and now they are going to extreme. Lots of violence lately and some of these are just low level drug dealers,” said Staff Sgt. Bill Clark with the Edmonton police homicide unit.
“It seems to be just a trend. They seem to be evolving to either ripping people off or getting easy cash or drugs.”
Clark describes the city’s latest homicide on Sunday morning as a home invasion type of crime. Following reports of multiple shots fired, police arrived at a home near 49 Avenue and 111A Street to find a 27-year-old female bleeding in a basement suite. She died before getting to a hospital. Clark noted the woman was believed to have ties with the city’s drug trade.
In early June, Staff Sgt. Kevin Berge with the Edmonton Drug and Gang Enforcement (EDGE) unit said officers have focused their attention on those committing the violent home invasions. It’s a trend police began to notice in late 2013 and hasn’t slowed down since then.
Last February, 23-year-old Deng Mathew Garang Tong was fatally wounded in a stabbing spree that injured four others in the area of 102 Street and 17 Avenue. The incident was drug-related and began as a home invasion at a known drug house.
“When EDGE gets involved with that type of crime, we’re not seizing any drugs or weapons – it’s violence reduction,” said Berge. “These guys are torturing people and they are getting the wrong address, so they are affecting people outside the drug trade quite heavily.”