Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Crime plans join election fray

Volunteers, staff touted as the eyes of police

  • Print

Community volunteers and city workers would help the Winnipeg Police Service prevent crime if Judy Wasylycia-Leis is elected mayor this fall.

The former NDP MP for Winnipeg North, who's vying to unseat Sam Katz this fall, pledged Monday to create two new crime-fighting programs within six days of being elected mayor.

The first program, PowerLine, is based on a three-year-old North Point Douglas effort that has reduced the crack cocaine trade and gang presence in the inner-city neighbourhood.

Wasylycia-Leis would like to expand the program to other Winnipeg neighbourhoods by appointing volunteer co-ordinators who would field calls about crime and vandalism and then co-ordinate a response with police and Manitoba Justice officials.

"The point of the program is the less bureaucratic it is, the more success it'll have," she told reporters outside Norquay Community Centre in Point Douglas, flanked by community activist Sel Burrows. "One size does not fit all. We're not going to find a Sel Burrows in every community."

Volunteer co-ordinators would not be subject to police background checks, she said. Burrows dismissed concerns that could enable organized crime to infiltrate the program.

"One of the things we've noticed is the reverse has happened. We have infiltrated organized crime," he said, suggesting criminals are not intelligent.

The second proposed program, City Watch, would see members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500 -- the city's largest union -- aid police by reporting crimes.

CUPE members are willing to do this, provided they receive proper training, said local president Mike Davidson, who also stood alongside Wasylycia-Leis. Similar programs are in place in six British Columbia municipalities, she said.

Wasylycia-Leis also said the Winnipeg Police Association supports the initiative. WPA vice-president Marc Pellerin declined to comment.

The cost of both PowerLine and City Watch would be minimal, said Wasylycia-Leis, though she has yet to cost them out precisely. She claimed Mayor Sam Katz has done little to prevent crime during six years in office.

"Like so many Winnipeggers, I am sick and tired of hearing we are the No. 1 violent-crime capital of Canada," she said.

Katz, however, said he launched a program similar to City Watch in 2004, when 70 waste-management workers were recruited to monitor crime. Winnipeg Transit employees have also been trained to report crime, he said.

"The key thing is, we would hope that what would prevail is common sense, in that all employees and all citizens would report crimes when they see them," Katz said.

The mayor repeated his assertion Wasylycia-Leis stymied federal Conservative efforts to bolster justice legislation while in Ottawa -- something the former MP has denied -- and said he has been instrumental in hiring 155 more police officers, creating a swat team, Operation Clean Sweep, CrimeStat and getting a police a helicopter off the ground.

"Do you really believe Wasylycia-Leis will be tougher on crime than I am?" he asked.

But Wasylycia-Leis said Winnipeg needs even more police officers.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 17, 2010 B1

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trouba talks about injury and potential for Jets

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local-(Standup photo)- A wood duck swims through the water with fall refections in Kildonan Park Thursday afternoon.
  • A golfer looks for his ball in a water trap at John Blumberg Golf Course Friday afternoon as geese and goslings run for safety- See Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge- Day 24– June 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google