Residents Remain On Edge While Police Say Offering Reward For Information Is Not An Option
PETERBOROUGH-The acting chief of the Peterborough Police Service said he understands the fear people continue to have after two unsolved fatal shootings in the city, just blocks apart, earlier this year. But Tim Farquharson said police are not prepared to offer a reward for information leading to an arrest of whoever is responsible for the two homicides. He also wanted to make it clear that conducting these kinds of investigations take time and they are not wrapped up in an hour like on a TV crime show.
There were in fact four shootings in Peterborough between April 20 and July 11 – all just southwest of the downtown area, three of them alone on Park Street. One person has been charged, a Quebec man, in a July 11 shooting near Dalhousie and Stewart Streets,. No one has been charged in the two shootings in which two men died. Kawartha 411 asked the acting chief for an update on their investigations.
“We started (our investigations) with virtually nothing. By connecting with the police services around us, and using our intelligence officers, their intelligence officers and the sources we have – we are working on those investigations. We do not have arrests at this time. (Officers) are not going to give any more information out on where the investigations are for obvious reasons,” Farquharson said. “We are working full-time on those and we are gaining headway on those investigations but that’s as far as we will (say) at this time. As soon as an arrest is made, the public will know unless there is a very good reason for us not to be transparent, for instance, if a second arrest was forthcoming.”
Farquharson would not say exactly how many officers are working trying to solve the two homicides.
“Numerous units off and on. Your drug unit, your major crimes, your active crimes. Those officers are all working on those investigations at times. I can’t give you the exact hours but there are full time dedicated officers but I won’t say how many,” the acting chief said.
Farquharson said the vast majority of the accused and some of the victims of violent crime since 2000 in the city were from out of town.
“We are not going to say in the unsolved cases where the suspects are from. Seventy-five percent of our suspects since 2000 are not from Peterborough,” he said.
Farquharson said they are not considering offering rewards for information leading to arrests in the two latest unsolved homicides.
“We would not circumvent the Crime Stoppers process. It’s been very successful and there have been lucrative rewards handed out through Crime Stoppers over the years. At this time we are not offering monetary rewards as a police service. We’ve never done that that I know of,” Farquharson said.
He added that he understands the fear that has consumed neighbours in the area of the shootings. Farquharson heard about it first-hand when police hosted a town hall meeting earlier this month. He said almost 60 people attended the meeting in person while another 220 watched it live online.
“People are terrified, frustrated, angry and afraid. We understand that. But no matter how much we say we understand unless we are living it, we can’t truly understand what they are going through,” Farquharson said.
He added they need and have asked for more resources – more staffing to deal with violent crime in the city. Farquharson said there has been a marked increase in calls for service over the past five years.
The brazen fatal shooting on July 2 was particularly upsetting for neighbours. One of them told Kawartha 411 that the man was shot at least four times from a moving vehicle on a front yard in the middle of the day, right beside a church and across from a convenience store.
We asked the acting chief if he could confirm those details that resulted in the death of Shawn Singh, 37, of Peterborough.
“I am not giving out exact information on that incident or other incidents. If I give out that information and it shows up in a paper And later on someone admits to it – first off I’d then be a witness, secondly, I could screw up the investigation because it might be information only the suspect knows but now the whole world knows. That’s why police don’t give out that type of information,” Farquharson said. “It did happen during the day and when we say the public doesn’t have to be concerned for their safety…we mean these were not unprovoked incidents. These are not people completely unknown to each other. We are pretty careful about how we put that out right away that the rest of the community doesn’t have to be afraid.
Kawartha 411 talked to some downtown street folks on the condition of anonymity. Some of them said that they have a good idea of who is responsible for the fatal shootings. They agree however that unless a substantial reward is offered, there is little incentive to come forward with that information to the police.
If you have information that could help police on either of the unsolved homicides, they ask that you contact them or Crime Stoppers anonymously.