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Police report drop in violent crime in Winnipeg

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The severity of violent crime in Winnipeg has dropped to an all-time low, city police reported today.

As well, virtually all other categories of criminal activity — with the notable exceptions of attempted murder, impaired driving and sexual assault with a weapon — also dropped in 2013.

The Winnipeg Police Service released its annual report for that year a day in advance of Statistics Canada's annual crime report.

Police officials credit the combination of crime-prevention efforts brought in by Chief Devon Clunis and a more focused approach on "evidence-led" policing tactics as reasons for the crime decline.

Total violent crime, which includes homicides, robberies and aggravated assaults, dropped 13 per cent from 2012, police say.

There was a 17 per cent reduction in property crimes in that same period.

Drug offences increased slightly, by four per cent, likely as a result of police laying more simple drug possession charges.

The number of drunk drivers also climbed over 2012, by six per cent. Last year, police laid 472 impaired driving or driver over the legal limit of .08 charges.

WPS Spt. Gord Perrier heralded a 37 per cent decrease in arsons, a number he said didn't include a one-third reduction in so-called "nuisance" or garbage fires.

Violent crime on city streets has fallen 21 per cent over the last five years, said Perrier.

He also noted the severity of police-reported violence is at a historic low.

Statistics Canada uses a tool called the crime severity index to gauge not just crime rates, but also the seriousness of criminal events.

Clunis, along with city Couns. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) and Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands), were among those on hand at a Central Park press briefing to introduce the 2013 numbers.

History

Updated on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 6:05 PM CDT: Fixes typo, formatting.

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