Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Prime season for crime upon us

River Heights often targeted, police warn

  • Print

The approaching summertime means a spike in property crime, Winnipeg police are warning.

But this year, the Winnipeg Police Service hopes a proactive approach to educate homeowners about ways to ward off break and enters, vehicle thefts and other crimes may pay off with a major decrease in crimes of opportunity.


What means do you use to prevent property crime? (choose all that apply)

View Results

Officers, cadets and other police volunteers are going door to door in the River Heights area, dropping off leaflets and netting some face time with residents to inform them about the troubling seasonal trend.

Details of what's been dubbed Project Comet (named after the Corydon Comets minor sports team) were unveiled Wednesday. The hope is greater citizen buy-in and awareness of the annual property-crime spike will ultimately curb the problem city-wide.

"This is not a River Heights thing," supervising Sgt. Mike Brooker of the west district crime unit said.

"This is a city-wide initiative that just started in River Heights," said Brooker. "We can't do this on our own."

It made sense to start the program in the sprawling neighbourhood since 94 per cent of its crime is property-related, said police.

Looking at the average of the last five years, the number of commercial, residential and vehicle break-ins exceeds 300 annually, statistics provided by the WPS show. The occurrences of these crimes begin to pick up around the end of April and continue until the cold weather returns in the fall, police said.

"That's why we're here," Brooker said. "It's a starting point for us."

In addition to doing the home visits to arm residents with information and safety tips, police are also increasing routine patrols in hopes of nabbing property offenders quickly and getting them off the street. Early Wednesday, two males were arrested about a block from the River Heights Community Centre as suspects in multiple area vehicle break-ins, said Brooker.

The same kind of initiative will be moved into other neighbourhoods, Brooker added.

"This model can be fashioned and used across the city if need be," he said.

Brooker said he was unaware of any extra financial cost the police service will bear from carrying out the project.

"It's a good idea," said Waverley Street homeowner Colette O'Reilly, after getting a visit from two officers.

"A lot of people forget to use their heads," O'Reilly said. "If you're mowing in front, you can't hear what's going on in the back."

O'Reilly said she often sees people leave valuables like purses in their cars -- prime pickings for a snatch-and-grab-style thief.

"I think, 'Are you nuts?' " she said.

O'Reilly had her car vandalized two summers ago. The culprit got away with nothing but did some damage, she said.

River Heights is presumed to be an affluent area, which may explain why it gets frequently targeted.

"People think: 'That's River Heights, there's money there,' " O'Reilly said.

Here's what police are asking of River Heights homeowners:

  •  Close and lock doors when not at home, same for garage doors at all times.
  •  Don't leave valuables like bicycles or lawnmowers lying about.
  •  Install light-timers and/or alarm systems.
  •  Park in well-lit areas and lock vehicles.
  •  Don't leave valuables in cars.
  •  Tell neighbours if going away.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 15, 2014 B4

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


Rinelle Harper and family thank man who found her

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A black swallowtail butterfly land on Lantana flowers Sunday morning at the Assiniboine Park English Gardens- standup photo – August 14, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Ads by Google