Gun crime in Winnipeg is up 66 per cent since 2014, according to the latest report from the police service’s guns and gangs unit.
That’s compared to a 42 per cent rise nationwide.
“Traditionally in Winnipeg we see more long guns than handguns, but it’s really a combination,” says Insp. Max Waddell. “(Officers also see) a lot of altered guns. Individuals will come into contact with a long gun but they’ll saw it down, it’s easier to conceal, easier to use and easier to avoid detection from law enforcement.”
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Waddell says there is a connection to the ongoing meth crisis, noting individuals associated with the drug have been involved in manufacturing zip guns.
In May, officers discovered and dismantled an improvised gun manufacturing workshop and recovered 12 weapons in various stages of production, along with ammo and tooling.
The report also shows a steady increase in gun seizures by police.
In 2016, 475 firearms connected to crime were seized compared to 778 just last year.
The force expects to meet or surpass that number in 2019.
“It’s a potential they’re coming from across the border, not only the United States but from Saskatchewan and Ontario,” says Waddell. “We’re focusing heavily on individuals who possess a Possession Acquisition Licence, who have the legal authority to purchase a gun, but what they’re doing is they’re selling it to a criminal.”
Police statistics indicate 75 per cent of gun crime since 2014 was related to robberies, while nearly all the rest were shootings.