December 22, 2016 2:48 pm
Updated: December 22, 2016 5:13 pm

Gun crimes up in Regina in 2016: police stats

A SWAT team conducts a search warrant in Regent Park on Nov. 6. While searching the house officers found seven firearms, a large amount of ammunition, substances officers believed to be marijuana, psilocybin, as well as cash.

Tyler Pidlubny / Global News

Figures released by Regina police show that with only days left in December, 2016 is on pace as one of the worst years ever for gun crimes in the city.

From January to November this year, police said there were 126 violent occurrences involving a gun, compared to 67 in the same time period in 2015. This is a 70 per cent increase year over year, and a 94 per cent increase over the five-year average.

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“There is an absolute increase in the prevalence of firearms and them being used during the commission of an offence,” Regina police chief Evan Bray said after the Regina police commissioners meeting Wednesday.

“That is something that we’re challenged with each and every day.”

Also from January to November, there were 59 gun-related incidents where no one was injured compared to 14 for the same time period in 2015, an increase of 321 per cent.

In the same 11-month period in 2015, 15 people were injured by guns. In 2016, that number increased by 160 per cent to 39 people being hurt by guns. That’s an increase of 103 per cent compared to the five-year average.

“Attempted murders, for example, are up a lot this year and the reason for that is we’re having more assaults happening with firearms and less assaults happening with a fist,” Bray said.

“We’re seeing a decrease in assault causing bodily harm but an increase in attempted murders and aggravated assaults just because of the seriousness of the crime when it’s committed by a firearm.”

Forty-nine firearms were reported stolen compared to 31 for the same time period in 2015, up 58 per cent from last year. Police also seized 316 firearms from January to November, compared to 289 in the same time period last year.

According to police, the types of firearms seized are most often rifles and others such as BB guns and pellet guns.

This past week, after the RCMP and Regina police announced 60 people had been arrested in a drug trafficking and weapons investigation, Regina police said officers have noticed an increase in cocaine and meth trafficking in Regina since 2013. Police have also noticed an increase in violence and firearms offences.

READ MORE: 60 people arrested, 443 charges laid in Regina drug investigation

“We talk often about how [the increase in firearms] is tied very closely to the drug issues we have in the community, particularly around meth, and firearms are becoming part of that high-risk and violent nature that crime takes for people who have that sort of addiction,” Bray said.

According to Bray, Regina police are working to try to get a handle on the gun problem in the city, including a proactive period in January where people in Regina who have guns in their homes they are uncomfortable with will be able to pass the firearms on to police.

Bray said as an organization, the Regina Police Service also addresses the need for increased training, tools and resources for safety.

“Our officers, they treat calls differently, they treat traffic stops differently and I talk about this quite often, when I started policing, which was now 22 years ago, the amount of times that we encountered a firearm, it was so small compared to what is today,” Bray said.

“Because today, each day, each night in our city, our officers are pulling a vehicle over or entering a house where at minimum a firearm exists within. Many times it’s been used or is threatened to be used and obviously, in some cases, it’s a challenge for our officers as well.”

Below is a snapshot of firearm incidents throughout Regina in 2016: 

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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