Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dip in overall crime, but some stats increase

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Jamil Mahmood says police officers are engaging residents of his West End neighbourhood -- and it's making a difference.

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Jamil Mahmood says police officers are engaging residents of his West End neighbourhood -- and it's making a difference. Photo Store

WINNIPEG saw an overall reduction in crime in the last quarter, a report by the Winnipeg Police Service says.

The third-quarter report by police Chief Devon Clunis released Wednesday said crime in general is down 15.3 per cent in the last quarter compared with the same period in 2012 and 25.3 per cent lower than the five-year average.

When he was sworn in as chief Nov. 2, 2012, Clunis pledged that "Winnipeg will become a safer city for all citizens."

A year later, his third-quarter crime stats showed a drop in violent crimes -- 9.7 per cent lower than the same quarter last year and 22.5 per cent lower than the five-year average. Homicides are down 17.4 per cent from the same period last year and 18 per cent lower than the five-year average. The reduction overall doesn't surprise one longtime community worker.

"The best thing I heard the other day was, 'There are people on Ellice after 6 (at night). It's not a ghost town anymore,' " said Jamil Mahmood, executive director of the Spence Neighbourhood Association.

He's worked for the association for eight years and said residents see a growing police presence. "The police have a unit dedicated to our neighbourhood," said Mahmood, who lives in the West End. "They're actually engaging with people in the neighbourhood, getting out of the car and stopping by the rec centre where the kids are," he said. "They're participating at meetings and not just there as a symbol."

The neighbourhood has done a lot of work running youth programs, identifying unsafe places and renovating homes, and the increased police presence is supporting the association's crime-reduction work, Mahmood said.

"There's definitely been a change but there's still work to be done and a lot more (police) could do."

The crime stats show a 35 per cent jump in the number of youth crimes committed in the last quarter compared with 2012 -- 236 compared with 175 during the same period in 2012 and a 62 per cent increase in the five-year average.

Attempted murders rose 50 per cent -- to nine in the last quarter from six in 2012 and sexual assaults with a weapon increased 71.4 per cent -- to 12 in the last quarter from seven during the same period in 2012.

The number of intoxicated people reported as "nuisances" was nearly 13 per cent higher than during the same quarter in 2012.

Arsons were down 44.8 per cent from the same quarter in 2012 and 31.5 per cent lower than the five-year average.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2013 0

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