WINNIPEG, MB: The 2018 annual crime stats released by the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) clearly show that more police resources are urgently needed to protect innocent members of the public from a crime problem that is getting worse with each passing week.
The WPS released its Annual Statistical Report on Monday, which shows violent crime has increased by 18% over the past five years, while property crime skyrocketed 19% from 2017 and is now up more than 40% over the past five years. The report also showed the WPS Communications Centre received a total of 618,321 calls for service in 2018, a spike of more than 32,000 calls from the previous year – and a staggering increase of more than 86,000 calls from 2014 when Mayor Bowman first took office.
“Many leadership figures in Winnipeg, including our Mayor, his Executive Policy Committee members, and now even the chief of our police force, want to portray our growing violent crime problems as someone else’s responsibility,” said Winnipeg Police Association (WPA) president Maurice ‘Moe’ Sabourin. “We’ve seen Winnipeg’s political leaders try to tie crime to inflation rates, and now they are trying tie it to the tragic circumstances surrounding addiction. It’s true that addiction leads to tragic personal circumstances and can contribute to crime – but a serious crime problem is a serious crime problem. How are current social programs, or even potentially improved social programs, going to function in an environment where public order is in decline and crime is relentlessly increasing? The Mayor, Council and WPS Chief need to take responsibility for their part in this issue, instead of trying to put these statistics on someone else’s desk.”
Sabourin noted that Winnipeg residents consistently point to crime as a top issue that the Mayor and City Councillors need to address, and that criminal elements do not pay attention to inflation rates. Trends in the city reveal that even more resources are needed to tackle a problem that has spiralled out of control on Mayor Bowman’s watch.
“The amount of resources given to our frontline officers should be directly related to the demand for their services. The longer the Mayor and Council decide not to act, the worse our crime problem will become,” added Sabourin. “And as Chief Smyth himself noted last week, if your home or business gets broken into tonight, there’s a pretty good chance WPS members will simply be too overwhelmed with other crimes happening throughout the city to properly investigate. That is simply unacceptable. People have a right to feel safe in their community. They have a right to be protected.”
“There have now been more homicides in 2019 in our city than all of 2018,” said Sabourin. “People are being violently and randomly assaulted on a routine basis, and the calls to our 911 contact centre pour in by the hundreds each and every day. Simply talking about the need for addictions treatments isn’t enough. This is a serious crime problem, and the time for talk is over. We need urgent action, and we need it now.”
Winnipeg Police Association