'We've got this perfect storm': Manitoba the murder capital of Canada, Stats Canada reports
WINNIPEG -- Manitoba has become the murder capital of Canada and it isn’t the only crime on the rise here.
According to a new report from Statistics Canada, over 2.2 million crimes were reported in 2019, which is a five per cent increase from 2018.
Manitoba recorded 72 homicides in 2019, Statistics Canada said. That’s 17 more than in 2018 and gives the province the highest homicide rate per capita in the country.
“I think everybody should be sick and tired of Manitoba being the highest crime province in all of Canada,” said Sel Burrows, who works in Winnipeg’s North End
Nationally, there were more than 140,000 incidents of shoplifting. That breaks down to an average of 373 incidents per 100,000 population, equaling an 11 per cent increase. But in Manitoba, it’s up by 48 per cent.
Criminology professor Kevin Walby said it's time to take a deeper look at the problem and change things from the ground up.
“We’ve got this perfect storm of deprivation, we have a province that is not providing funds for health, we have a city that is not providing funds for housing, so it doesn’t surprise me that transgression is going up,” Walby said.
Dorota Blumczynska with the Police Accountability Coalition said it is time to start investing in prevention programs and services.
“Investing in an after-the-fact response doesn’t actually work to reduce the incidences of criminality or of stress or of panic within our communities,” said Blumczynska.
Burrows said it takes a community to change a community.
“If people are keeping an eye on things, and people who are out on bail or out on parole or probation and are held to their conditions, we’d have a much lower crime rate,” said Burrows.
The report states it does not reflect the large-scale impact COVID-19 has had on the country and the world this year, but the data is a point of reference for the 2020 report to show any possible change to crime patterns.
The Manitoba government sent a statement to CTV News regarding the survey.
“Manitoba Justice is always concerned to see crime statistics on the rise, and as this report was only received yesterday, department officials will review the findings to determine next steps,” a spokesperson said.
“Our government has and will continue to prioritize community safety, and has implemented a number of recommendations from stakeholders and other organizations across the province to combat crime. Manitobans deserve to feel safe in their communities and we will continue to work to improve public safety in our province.”
Winnipeg Police and Manitoba RCMP were unavailable for comment by deadline on Friday.