Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Not all offences on the decline, StatsCan finds

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Manitoba's crime rate continues to fall but some serious violent crimes still happen here at rates well above national averages.

That's the story told by a Statistics Canada report on 2013 police-reported crime data issued Wednesday.

Overall, the provincial crime rate dropped by 11 per cent last year, notes the report.

Also positive is how the severity of crimes committed in the province continued its long-term decline.

In the last decade, crime severity in Manitoba as measured by Statistics Canada has plummeted by 38 per cent.

Manitoba joined Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec and recorded a 12 per cent decrease in 2013 over the year before in crime severity.

In Winnipeg, the decline was even more profound at 15 per cent, and is likely a result of fewer break and enters, cars being stolen and thefts, the report notes.

When violence factors into the mix, however, Winnipeg remains the highest-ranked city on the Statistics Canada severity index.

The city's high rate of robberies per 100,000 people was the leading cause of this issue, the report said.

Robberies remain a leading concern in Manitoba despite a large decline in their number, Statistics Canada notes.

"There were fewer robberies in almost all provinces and territories in 2013. Among the provinces, Nova Scotia and Manitoba recorded the largest drops in robberies in 2013, both down 24 per cent from the previous year," the report discloses. "Manitoba, however, continued to record the highest rate among all provinces and territories in 2013 at 130 robberies per 100,000 population."

The Statistics Canada numbers come a day after the Winnipeg Police Service revealed their own statistics and also noted a significant drop in the city's crime rate.

Crime has been declining in the city for the last five years, police officials noted.

The drop is largely being credited to the dovetailing of crime-prevention efforts and progressive police tactics.

That's not lost on Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief, who was standing in for Justice Minister Andrew Swan on Wednesday.

"This isn't just a blip -- this is something that's trending in the right direction," said Chief.

Chief acknowledged the high robbery rate, but said co-operative efforts between police, government, private enterprise and citizens have fostered a sense of "shared responsibility" for tackling crime.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2014 A5

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