A suspect wanted in connection for two robberies at a dépanneur in the Ville-Émard neighbourhood is still on the loose and the Montreal police are asking for your help to identify him.
The robberies occurred on September 6 and 17.
Le #SPVM demande la collaboration du public afin d\u2019identifier l\u2019auteur de deux vols qualifi\u00e9s commis dans un d\u00e9panneur de Ville-\u00c9mard.\nD\u00e9tails http://bit.ly/3HPvcw8\u00a0pic.twitter.com/ZbyAttB31N
According to the police report, "The suspect entered the store alone after the clerk gave him access. He mentioned having a weapon on him and demanded money by threatening the clerk. The suspect did not wear gloves. He fled on foot after the robberies."
The suspect is described by the SPVM as a white male between 25 and 30 years old. Photos show him wearing a beige flannel shirt and a beige baseball cap. He speaks French, according to the SPVM.
The police have also provided a list of suggestions for store owners to protect themselves from potential robberies:
"Place the cash register in a location visible from outside your business.
"Avoid signs, supports and displays that obstruct the view from outside.
"Use a burglary alarm system.
"Install a video surveillance system.
"Make your deposits at varying times, especially during the night.
"Keep little money in the cash register.
"Make sure the building number is clearly visible on the front and back of your business."
If you work at a store and are a victim of a robbery, the police suggest to never defend yourself and simply hand over the money to the robber before dialling 911.
SPVM investigators are asking anyone with information connected to these robberies or this individual to report to Info-Crime Montreal at 514 393-1133 or on its website.
Together, these officers make up the integrated weapons trafficking team, whose goal is to combat firearms trafficking and gun violence.
The search this group conducted came as "the result of an investigation initiated in March in relation to drug trafficking and prohibited firearms in Montreal," a press release from the SPVM reads.
On Thursday, December 2, police released an update about the search, which led to one arrest and the seizure of a handgun, a large capacity magazine, ammunition and more than $1,500 cash.
"During this operation, the police also arrested an 18-year-old man. He is scheduled to appear in court today at the Montreal Courthouse. Three other persons were also met by the police and released pending further investigation," the update read.
This operation was part of Quebec police's CENTAURE strategy against gun violence, which "has the mandate of ensuring constant pressure on organized crime and thus actively fighting against illegal firearms trafficking in Quebec."
“CENTAURE allows the Sûreté du Québec and all partner police forces to maximize their efforts at the national, regional and local levels targeting the supply, importation, distribution and illegal possession of firearms."
Police ask that if you ever have any information related to the possession, trafficking or use of firearms, you communicate such information to the CENTAURE information line at 1-833-888-ARME (2763).
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
But what exactly is scoring and why are the Montreal police concerned about it?
Scoring "is something that is used to brag on social media [...] people are going to set an objective and they're going to brag about it on social media saying they accomplished an exploit," Richer explained at a press conference on Monday.
In a nutshell, "scoring" can be understood as a social media trend in which criminals use social networks to brag and encourage violent achievements.
The deputy director called scoring a "new phenomenon" in Montreal: "Now we're seeing more and more of it."
He said that while in the past, crime syndicates and organized crime acted in "very precise" ways, now "social media is where it's going on. That's where people are talking to each other, they're bragging, they're settling some scores and after that, they're doing it on the street with real violence."
"Police services have to adapt."
Generally, experts have long argued that social media has drastically changed the face of crime. And with more crime emerging on social media networks, some researchers believe that the police can also use it as an effective tool for fighting crime.
In a March 2019 study on "The Relationship Between Social Media Data and Crime Rates in the United States," researchers at the University of California said their findings suggested it was "possible to identify emerging crime hot spots using social media."
"When we talk about the hottest place in Montreal right now, it's social media," Richer said Monday.
"That's where we want to work; we want to work on this aspect of society that's different than it [was] two to five years ago."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Montreal police have a new initiative to address gun violence in Montreal. At a joint press conference at City Hall on Monday, Mayor Valérie Plante and SPVM Deputy Director Vincent Richer announced the launch of a special forum on armed violence.
This forum will "bring together institutional and community decision-makers to make joint commitments based on a concerted strategy," according to an SPVM press release.
[S\u00e9curit\u00e9 \u00e0 Montr\u00e9al]\nLe #SPVM annonce la tenue d\u2019un Forum montr\u00e9alais pour la lutte contre la violence arm\u00e9e.\n\nD\u00e9tails http://bit.ly/31aa03m
The SPVM will meet with community organizers in a series of meetings this December, and the two-day forum in January "will be an opportunity to find concrete solutions by taking into account the mission, expertise and issues of each partner involved in the fight against gun violence," the release states.
In the press conference, Richer underscored that Montreal is still a safe city despite recent incidents of violence. Compared to other cities in North America, Montreal remains statistically "safe," he said.
Both he and Plante said officials need to address access to and demand for firearms.
"As a police service, we work on the offer and we have to work on the demand also," Richer said. "That's the part where the forum comes into play — working on the demand."
The mayor has repeatedly called for action on the accessibility of guns.
"You can get it by mail; you can make those guns if you have the right printer," she said, expressing hope that the upcoming forum will be an opportunity for experts and community members to weigh in on the root causes of violence.
At an early morning meeting between re-elected Mayor Valérie Plante and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Montreal City Hall on Friday, housing, public transit, the pandemic and most notably, public security in the city were the main topics of discussion.
Montreal's mayor once again implored the federal government to consider banning handguns across the country.
J\u2019ai eu une excellente rencontre avec @JustinTrudeau!\n\nNous partageons plusieurs priorit\u00e9s, dont la s\u00e9curit\u00e9 publique, l\u2019habitation, le transport collectif et le d\u00e9veloppement de l\u2019Est de Montr\u00e9al. Le gouv. canadien est un partenaire dans l\u2019essor de notre m\u00e9tropole. #polmtlpic.twitter.com/B825A1ugNK
"Canada needs to be a country that distinguishes itself from our neighbours to the south," Plante told journalists after her meeting with the prime minister. "Where gun trafficking and the normalization of guns is unacceptable."
In recent months, there have been several reports of firearm incidents, murders and other violent attacks. Most recently, on November 14, a 16-year-old boy was shot and killed near a Villeray high school. The SPVM said that it was the 31st homicide in the city this year.
Public safety and security were hot-button issues during the recent municipal election, as well, with all the candidates presenting plans to target gun violence in the city.
The mayor said Friday that "we should ban handguns and we should be even stronger on assault weapons."
Plante spoke of the need to support this position across Canada, even in places where sentiments about firearms might be different from Quebec's.
"I know that it's not popular everywhere, but here in Quebec, I think we have a consensus that it's the right thing to do," she said.
"Mr. Trudeau showed a lot of openness and he agreed that the federal [government] has to do more."