Recent string of gun-related incidents sparks concerns of rising gun violence in Winnipeg
A string of gun-related incidents in Winnipeg have some asking if gun violence is on the rise.
Const. Dani McKinnon with the Winnipeg Police Service said despite the recent string of incidents, the stats don’t show an increase.
“When we look at the year-over-year statistics, we’re quite even," McKinnon said.
Last week, a man living on Poplar Avenue was shot when he confronted some people outside of his home trying to steal his truck, that same night a man living on Riverstone Road was shot at while letting out his dog in the early morning.
Over the weekend shots were fired at Bar Italia on Corydon Avenue, and that same night a man was shot while riding his bike down Higgins Avenue.
“I think why this is standing out right now is, yes admittedly these incidents are happening in a more random fashion," McKinnon said.
She said approximately 1,200 guns were seized by Winnipeg police in 2020, and 700 of those were crime guns used in some kind of offence.
She said so far in 2021, police has seized close to 600 crime guns.
“The acquisition of guns that are being used in the crimes that we’re seeing (there’s) a high probability that they are gang affiliated," McKinnon said.
Dr. Michael Weinrath, professor of criminal justice at the University of Winnipeg, said a lot of the random violence is connected to local street gangs.
“If you recruit really violent people, you’re going to recruit people who are short-tempered, who are going to start shooting when they get turned down to go into a bar," Weinrath said.
Weinrath said street gangs do not have the structure that some of the larger organized crime gangs in the city do, and that can manifest itself in more random acts of violence.
“There’s a certain amount of pressure on them to commit violent crimes to gain the confidence of the gangs, and sort of move up in the echelon,” said Weinrath.
McKinnon said a majority of the guns in Winnipeg are coming from outside the country.
“We are very close to the United States, as well there’s some discussion around Centerport and commercial transport.”
McKinnon said Winnipeg police have specialized units working to infiltrate and dismantle crime organizations involved in the use and acquisition of firearms.