‘Hot spot for crime’: Will tearing down the Portage Place bus shelter make a difference?
It’s been identified as a problem area by Winnipeg police, including their chief.
The bus shelter outside Portage Place has been at the centre of several high-profile crimes, including stabbings and shootings.
Winnipeg’s police chief has called it a ‘hot spot’ for crime and now Mayor Brian Bowman and city council are looking at tearing it down.
“Simply, when you have the chief of police identifying it as a hot spot, I want to act on it as quickly as possible and the sooner that can happen, the better,” Bowman said Wednesday.
Demolishing the heated bus shelter is part of Phase Two of the Downtown Public Safety Strategy. The next phase of the strategy came up before Executive Policy Committee Wednesday, and council as a whole will vote on the strategy July 19.
While the report focuses on overall downtown safety, “a disproportionate number of incidents of criminal activity are occurring” at this bus shelter and therefore “this specific location warrants individual attention.”
In January, a 17-year-old international student was the target of a random attack.
Surveillance video released by police at the time shows the attacker waiting until all others leave the bus shelter before lunging at teen and beating him until he couldn’t move.
In 2008, a man walked into the shelter during the noon hour with a high-powered handgun and shot another man, a stranger, in the abdomen.
“The sooner that that transit shelter can be decommissioned, the better,” Bowman said.
“The Public Service is working with those directly connected to the space, including the ownership of Portage Place and Winnipeg Transit, to imagine and design alternatives to the current state with the objective of reducing or eliminating the prevalence of criminal activity at and near that location,” reads the report.
A new design for a replacement shelter has yet to be done, and how it’s expected to make the area safer, is still to be seen.
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