Canada
Number of Mafia homicides in Montreal increased in 2012: Cops

Montreal police work a crime scene near the home belonging to reputed crime boss Nicolo (Nick) Rizzulo in Montreal November 10, 2010.

Credits: REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - The number of organized crime murders in 2012 was the highest since 2008, the year the Montreal police force started using millions in federal cash to fight gangsters.

Out of 35 homicides in Montreal in 2012, police say 18 were directly or indirectly related groups such as the Italian Mafia or street gangs.

Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere told QMI Agency that only two of those gang-related homicides resulted in charges.
"(The cases) demand much more energy, much more time," he said.

In 2008, Public Safety Canada created a $400-million trust fund for provinces and territories to recruit police officers. Montreal police used about $92 million a year to create a force called Eclipse, which was dedicated to fighting organized crime.

But that federal cash is expected to run out by March.
While Eclipse has been accused of racial profiling - a problem that the city's police chief Marc Parent publicly acknowledged - the funding for Eclipse is ceasing just as organized crime violence appears to be increasing.

Jean Paul Duval, spokesman for Public Safety Canada, told QMI Agency in November that the federal government "doesn't foresee renewing the annual funding,"
Duval confirmed in an e-mail on Thursday that the 2008 cash injection was a "one-time support" to the provinces and territories.

Montreal police spokeswoman Anie Lemieux said the future of Eclipse will be put under review.

- With files from Elizabeth Laplante


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