'They’re concerned for their safety': Moncton residents vent frustrations on crime, homelessness in public meeting

The second of two town hall meetings on homelessness and crime took place in Moncton Thursday night.

Around 100 people gathered to hear residents from the city’s west end and business owners express their concerns over theft, used needles and human feces on or near their property and in schoolyards.

The fiery open mic session saw dozens of people vent their frustrations over policing, city hall and not feeling safe in their own neighbourhoods or in the downtown core.

West end resident Kevin Gallant said the city is a dangerous place right now.

“There’s a lot of bad stuff that’s happening in Moncton,” says Gallant. “You know, panhandling and a needle in their arms is bad, but there’s a lot of bad stuff in Moncton.”

Salisbury Road resident Beth Donovan said there are members of the city’s vulnerable population constantly in her backyard.

“My kids, I have a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old, and this is what they’re living with. They don’t want to go out and play in the back field. I don’t want them outside after dark,” said Donovan.

Peter Ryan said enough is enough and he wants action on the issues now.

“Three years ago we stood here and we heard the exact same crap. I’m tired of it. I need to see some action. I need to see some accountability,” says Ryan.

Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold attended both meetings and said she knows people are frustrated and she is too.

“They’re concerned for their safety and we have definitely heard them,” said Arnold after the meeting. “All of council has heard them and we are taking that feedback and the solutions. We got pages of solutions tonight.”

A common suggestion among speakers was a higher police presence and more arrests.

Also present at the meeting were members of city council, representatives from the Codiac Regional RCMP, the chief and deputy chief of the Moncton Fire Department and two Moncton MLAs.

There are roughly 200 homeless people in the city right now.