Pandemic year sees shifts in some Winnipeg crime stats: report

The latest statistical report from the Winnipeg Police Service shows some dramatic shifts in crime stats over 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic raged through three waves.

One of the bigger shifts was a decrease in calls to the communications centre by six per cent, but well-being calls increased by 12 per cent.

Read more: (Aug. 22, 2020) COVID-19 is affecting Winnipeg crime rate

“While COVID-19 might be a causal factor in these changes, it will likely be another year before we see the full effects of the pandemic on police operations,” said police chief Danny Smyth.

The closure of stores and businesses means there was a decrease in theft and shoplifting, especially around liquor stores, as MLL increased security and implemented new ID measures to prevent swarms of people from simply walking off with large amounts of liquor.

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Property crimes were down by 14 per cent compared to 2019, according to the report, but up 11 per cent over the five-year average.

In total, all crimes are down about 10 per cent.

Drug crimes, however, went up 13 per cent, as did traffic crimes such as dangerous driving.

Winnipeg Police Service. Winnipeg Police Service

“There was a modest decrease in violent crimes, driven primarily by a reduction in all robberies,” Smyth said.

“However, the number of homicides was quite high for the second year in a row. I do note some cause for concern regarding the increase in assault with a weapon offences, and in particular, the number of knife-related events.”

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Youth crime was also down significantly, except for aggravated and sexual assaults, which saw an increase of 18 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively.

The youth crime trend, however, is down from 2,513 cases in 2015 to 1,370 in 2020.

Read the full report:

The WPS currently has 1,917 police and civilian members. Of those police officers, 11 per cent are Indigenous, and eight per cent are made up of visible minorities.

For civilians and cadets, 9.5 are Indigenous, while 12.8 are visible minorities.

“As a police service, we strive to have a workforce that is reflective of the community we serve. Throughout the pandemic, we made the most of the resources we had, providing a balanced and strategic approach to manage a challenging environment,” Smyth said.

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