Police chief Danny Smyth’s comments about violent crime in the city aren’t sitting well with all Winnipeggers.
On Friday, Smyth told the media that the rash of violent attacks in the city — including a Ukrainian refugee being stabbed in the neck at The Forks on Canada Day — was alarming, but nothing new for Winnipeg.
Sel Burrows, a longtime community activist and safety advocate, told 680 CJOB’s The Start that Smyth’s comments weren’t helpful and serve to normalize violence in Winnipeg rather than confront it.
“He should’ve been saying, ‘We’re going to be making some changes within the police department, we need some changes at the provincial government’s justice department, there’s a whole series of new actions that need to be done immediately that have been recommended over the years,'” Burrows said.
“(He should’ve said), ‘Yes, we need the whole population to be involved; Winnipeg should be sick and tired of being the crime capital of Canada.'”
Burrows said a relatively simple suggestion to help combat violent crime would be for channels to be set up so Winnipeggers doing jobs like taxi drivers and security guards would be able to quickly report criminal activity they see around the city.
“How about we set up a line so if you’re a security guard, seeing something happening outside of the building they’re guarding that looks criminal, looks like it’s going to move to being criminal, they can get in touch right away?
“Eyes on the street, eyes on the street, eyes on the street.”
In a statement Monday, Winnipeg Police Association president Moe Sabourin also called for more ‘tangible measures’ to be taken.
“To be perfectly clear, random and violent attacks against innocent citizens are not normal, and implying that these incidents are somehow just a routine part of life in a community is to otherwise give up,” Sabourin said.
“Is that what Winnipeg families are supposed to expect from the (police)?”