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‘It’s happening in every neighborhood’: Winnipeg police see dramatic spike in property crime

A Winnipeg police car. Elisha Dacey/Global NAews

Property crimes have spiked significantly in 2019, with the latest stats from the police showing a one-month year-over-year increase of more than 40 per cent.

In March 2018, there were 2,509 incidents of property crime reported to police. In March of this year, there were 3,519 incidents of property crime, a rise of 40.3 per cent.

Winnipeg property crime numbers. (Source: Winnipeg Police)

“It’s happening in every neighborhood, everywhere,” said WPS Const. Rob Carver.

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According to Winnipeg Police, property crimes include arson, breaking and entering, fraud, mischief, motor vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, and theft over and under $5,000..

Winnipeg police attribute the dramatic spike in numbers to the rise in addiction, especially to methamphetamines.

READ MORE: Winnipeg police chief Danny Smyth still loses sleep over city’s meth problem

Mayor Brian Bowman said getting to the root of the problem will help police respond to calls of property crimes faster and hopefully bring numbers down.

“Until the root causes of the meth crisis are better addressed, we’re going to expect that it’s going to put a strain on our community, including police,” Bowman told 680 CJOB.

Bizarre incidents

The increasing number of bizarre and dangerous incidents due to people believed high on meth means police aren’t able to address some property crime in a timely manner, said Carver.

For instance, a recent break-in at a local meat shop that saw someone tunnel through a wall only to steal sausage and change did not see police for at least 24 hours, according to the store manager.

Carver said police prioritize all calls for service based on a threat assessment.

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“If someone’s life is in danger, that takes absolute priority,” Carver said.

“Property crimes, even though we are devoting resources to solving them, are still going to have response times that involve a couple of days.”

However, police are taking a more targeted approach to property crimes, with dedicated investigators, he added.

“We do have a separate section now within Major Crimes [Unit] that will specialize in smaller property crimes, because we’re certainly seeing a spike in those numbers over the last while.”

Related: Meth violence only getting worse in Winnipeg

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