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‘Huge frustration’: Politicians, police should source inner city for solutions, says Point Douglas activist

Point Douglas Residents Committee Chair Sel Burrows. Amber McGuckin/Global News

With crime in Winnipeg making headlines, including a rash of murders over the last 10 days, everyone is looking for solutions.

Longtime Point Douglas community activist Sel Burrows told 680 CJOB that while there may be a lot of institutions to point fingers at, it’s everyone’s responsibility.

“We need the community involved. The police can’t do it all,” said Burrows.

“The regular people living in the community – not the social agencies, but the people who live there – have to be involved.

“They’re the ones who know who has the guns. They’re the ones who know where these out-of-control parties are, where these ugly murders often take place.”

Burrows said he supports the work police are doing, but that the citizenry needs to be involved. He said he’d like to see a tip line in place – similar to one he has established within Point Douglas itself – and to increase the number of community development workers.

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Governments, he said, waste a lot of time and money with studies, instead of talking directly to people who live and work in the city’s most crime-affected neighbourhoods.

“There’s a huge frustration, because governments are talking up here, and the action, the problem is down here.

“The city and the province are wasting our money. They’re not coming in to the inner city, spending a few nights… talking to inner city people, talking to inner city leaders about what could be done.”

For Burrows, the inner city needs to be the focus. While he acknowledged there’s crime throughout Winnipeg, in terms of numbers, the inner city is the most affected.

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Formal efforts to solve the problem, he said, are falling short by not consulting with those on the ground level.

“We’re sending David Asper to Minneapolis to study downtown crime prevention… Minneapolis, which has close to triple the murder rate of Winnipeg. It’s a junket.

“David Asper can’t pick up the phone and call me, and I know other people in the inner city working on crime prevention and he hasn’t called any of them. He knows nothing about the inner city, and that’s where most of the crime is taking place.”

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