Ashley Murray moved to Elmwood in Winnipeg earlier this year. So far, she says her new neighbourhood is unsettling.
“You’ll hear car alarms go off here all night, every night here, all night, you’ll hear them go off in the distance or close.”
She first noticed the crime in her new neighbourhood when her delivery driver called her to say he was robbed with a machete for her food order.
“I said oh my god are you OK, do you want me to call the police?”
That incident was the first of many she says. Her vehicle was broken into and later her tires were slashed.
“I had posted in a group, like an area group, and a lot of people when I posted said my vehicle got broken in to as well or my window got smashed last weekend so it’s kinda an ongoing thing.”
The crime Murray sees isn’t isolated to her neighbourhood, says Jackie Dykeman, a property manager at a building on River Avenue.
“It’s happening almost nightly around here,” she says.
She’s been in the building for more than 30 years and says crime has gotten worse recently.
“Two vehicles in here have had tools stolen, catalytic converters stolen, my vehicle was broken into, they stole prescription sunglasses, anything they can get their hands in to,” she says.
Winnipeg police say in the first six months of 2022 there have been 5,464 reported thefts from vehicles.
That number is on track to exceed last year’s numbers where 7,148 vehicle break-ins were reported.
Dykeman checks her buildings camera’s for thieves as she says tenants routinely ask her to look at the footage.
Video cameras can be a useful tool, but according to Mar Potts, chairperson for the Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP), it’s not a solution.
“(Winnipeg residents) feel very safe because they’ve got the cameras but, that’s protecting their house, their home, but that’s not going to address the community’s safety.”
Neigbourhood safety is something Potts says is important in addressing the root cause of crime.
“All lot of neighbours have said, ‘we never thought we’d have the level of crime that we do,'” says Potts.
It’s a disappointing realization for many people like Murray in Elmwood who says it may be time to try something new.
“It’s almost like you know, I’m better off taking a bus or not having a vehicle.”
It’s a decision that may seem extreme, but one that comes after an exhausting battle of break-ins and thefts that seems to have no end in sight.
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