Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City's violent crime on the downswing

Police statistics show drop from '09 to '11

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Violent crime is on the decline in Winnipeg, newly released police statistics show.

Winnipeg Police Service Supt. Devon Clunis released statistics at council's protection and community services committee Thursday that show violent crime declined from 2009 to 2011.

Police data show violent crime dropped by nine per cent from 2009 to 2010 and by a further eight per cent from 2010 to 2011.

Clunis said the number of assaults with a weapon dropped 10.6 per cent from 2009 to 2010 and a further 8.8 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

Clunis released the data in response to a request from Coun. Harvey Smith (Daniel McIntyre), who recently said stabbings have become an "epidemic" in Winnipeg.

"Stats and what may seem (to be) could be two different things and you have to go with the facts," Clunis said. "Sometimes what's reported, what gets a lot of media spotlight, is when something negative happens."

Last month, Smith called on police to examine three years' worth of stabbing data to find out how many were reported, how many were solved and the number of victims who refused to co-operate with a police investigation.

Police service CrimeStat reports show the locations of break-ins, shootings, homicides, robberies and auto thefts across the city, but do not include information about stabbings.

Clunis said stabbings are captured as "assault with a weapon." He said a national body manages Winnipeg's police record system and the service would have to ask them to record the information differently in order to track stabbings.

He said one stabbing is too many and police will review the relevance of more specific stabbing information and make a decision on whether to ask the national body to upgrade its data system.

"It's not just a simple matter," Clunis said.

Smith said he believes Winnipeg police could easily track stabbings without asking for sweeping changes from the national records management system.

Smith said it seems as though there is a stabbing every day in Winnipeg. He wants to know if they are gang-related, family disputes, or random. "I'm really concerned and I want action."

jen.skerritt@freepress.mb.ca

WInnipeg crime trends

Snapshot of Winnipeg police's latest violent crime statistics:

Violent crime dropped by nine per cent from 2009 to 2010 and a further eight per cent from 2010 to 2011.

Assaults dropped by three per cent from 2009 to 2010 and a further nine per cent from 2010 to 2011.

Assaults with a weapon declined 10.6 per cent from 2009 to 2010 and a dropped a further 8.8 per cent from 2010 to 2011.

Robberies dropped 13 per cent from 2009 to 2010 and a further two per cent from 2010 to 2011.

The number of police officers rose to 1,441 in 2012 from 1,348 in 2009 -- an increase of 93 officers. Twenty-six of these positions are still in recruit training and will be assigned when they graduate in the fall.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2012 A6

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