Violent, property crimes a ‘serious problem’ in Winnipeg: police
WINNIPEG -- Property crime and violent crime increased in the city last year, according to the Winnipeg Police Service’s 2019 annual statistical report.
“From my perspective, it has been a remarkable year for our community in terms of crime and crime statistics,” said Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth at a news conference on Friday.
“The level of brazen violent crime and property crime was alarming,” Smyth wrote in the report. “Violent crime and property crime are well above the 5-year averages—and our 5-year averages were already way above the Canadian average.”
The report shows violent crime, including homicides, increased four per cent from 2018, and was 17 per cent higher than the five-year average.
“Our homicides doubled from the previous year, which is significantly over the five-year average. Usually, we average around 22 or 23 homicides a year, of course, we had 44 homicides last year,” Smyth said.
He noted there were also several homicides where the victims were children, as well as homicides where the suspects were children.
“There are some pretty heartbreaking and unforgettable homicides that we experienced,” Smyth said.
Property crime increased by 15 per cent from 2018 and was 48 per cent higher than the five-year average. Smyth said there were particularly notable increases in theft, fraud and possession of stolen property.
He noted that one-third of thefts last year happened at liquor stores.
Smyth said that in 2019, the Winnipeg Police Serviced added more officers to the homicide unit, the general patrol, and the foot patrol downtown.
“As a police service we responded with what I consider to be a pretty balanced and strategic approach to the environments we found ourselves in last year,” he said
Smyth said one of the positives that came out of 2019 includes forming a working partnership with Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries. He noted as well that residents really adapted well to their online reporting tool.
“We’re doing the best we can to meet the needs of the community with the resources that we have,” Smyth said.
- With files from CTV's Kayla Rosen.
The full report can be found here.