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Crime Watch: St. Vital residents change behaviour with increased crime in neighbourhood

Global News dives into crimes across neighbourhoods in Winnipeg. The fifth of a six part series looks at residents and business owner concerns in St. Vital.

As Winnipeg continues to feels the effects of increased crime in the city, Global News is diving into concerns felt by local residents. In week five of our six-week series, we highlight concerns felt by St. Vital residents.

Residents in St. Vital have noticed an increase in property crimes over the last few years, something Winnipeg Police’s crime reports indicate as well.

Statistics show property crimes have increased by more than 17 per cent this year, with total crimes reported in the area rising from 8.73 per cent in August of 2018 to 12.39 per cent in August of 2019.

Safety in St. Vital
Safety in St. Vital

Residents we spoke to say their generally quiet neighbourhood has seen an increase of foot traffic in the area.

“Sometimes you see people walking with a big backpack or riding their bikes around and you wonder if they’re casing the neighbourhood,” St. Vital resident Joy said.

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Broken windows, broken into sheds and people rummaging through cars seem to be what residents in the area see the most, however one homeowner found someone sleeping in her car.

“I thought she was dead and I screamed.”

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Diane Forrest says it appeared as though the girl spent the night in her car, trying to stay warm. “She was wearing my partner’s jacket and I said ‘No, you can’t have that.”

Business owners in the area are also noticing the uptick in property crimes.

READ MORE: Crime watch: St. James residents weigh in on illicit neighbourhood activity

“Within the last five years, definitely seen an increase – didn’t seem to see so much prior,”Andre Massicotte, President of Exclusive Carpets said. “Now we’re seeing it more and more. People are hanging in the back lane, we’re finding some little needles, we’ve had catalytic converters stolen, we’ve had a lot of tagging done on our building.”

The warnings are being heard loud and clear to those in the area who haven’t been targeted yet, but know businesses who have.

Bogdan Galaniuk owns Lvov Euro Food Corner across from St. Vital Centre and increased security measures in the back lane of his store after a nearby business was robbed.

“We have a camera here, security camera and then lights,” Galaniuk said. “So basically right now everything is okay.”

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READ MORE: Crime Watch: Point Douglas residents want more done about crime, stigma