Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Five years on, thugs and dealers dumb as ever

  • Print

In October 2007, the residents of North Point Douglas organized the Make Point Douglas A Crack Free Zone rally. We hoped maybe 50 people would come out. More than 200 people showed up.

Point Douglas isn't quite a crack-free zone yet, but has it ever changed for the better.

The ordinary people of our community have shown they can make a difference. Our area has gone from having one of the highest crime rates in Winnipeg to a very average crime rate. Still much too high, but continuing to show progress.

We are fortunate most crack dealers are pretty dumb.

Our little network of what we lovingly call Invisible Cows and one Raging Bull continually develops new techniques to stay ahead of the criminals. One example was when three wonderful women kicked an Indian Posse ganglet out.

It started with an email from a woman to our Powerline email address: "The Indian posse have moved in next door. I love my apartment but they are pretty scary and are dealing crack." The mistress of the Powerline, indomitable retired kindergarten teacher, my wonderful wife Chris, emails this information to the landlord, a diminutive woman.

The landlord, who thinks she has rented her suite to an elderly woman, immediately drives over to discover five huge guys smoking in her no-smoking suite. She has a short conversation with Powerline and agrees to issue a five-day eviction notice.

Three days later the five big guys have packed up and are loading their worldly belongings into green garbage bags, supervised by the landlord, all 4-8 of her.

This is repeated on Hallet Street, with another property management company, where another group of crack dealers is scaring the neighbours. Another call to the property manager, another five-day eviction notice. Again the bad guys are on the run.

The tenants have the right to appeal but we have found criminals do not like the light of day and rarely appeal, knowing the neighbours are no longer afraid.

While crack sales are the hard-core symbol of crime in the inner city, we have identified out-of- control parties as a major source of violent crime including knifings. We had two party houses on one street. The Powerline distributed a flyer asking neighbours to call immediately if another party started. It's been a month now and no more wild parties.

We noticed bikers were starting to visit a certain address, cruising up with their mufflers wide open, trying to intimidate the neighbours. The Powerline very openly wrote down their licence plate numbers and suggested if they wanted to visit North Point Douglas, they do so with their mufflers functioning because the fine for not having their muffler working is pretty steep. After some wonderful expletives they drove away and we haven't heard from them since.

The people of Point Douglas only do what they can do to prevent crime. We have no power, no authority but we do use our community knowledge to try to prevent crime. It's not perfect but it gives ordinary people here some say in their personal safety. We are all volunteers but have discovered we are smarter than most of the bad guys.

It's been five years since that community rally. Gang members will continue to set up in North Point Douglas. Our community promises them a warm welcome and if they break the law, a quick exit.


Sel Burrows is a community activist who lives in Point Douglas.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 28, 2012 A13

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


Winnipeg Free Press 27 cent digital payment system

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY

View More Gallery Photos


Should NDP MLAs sign the "pledge of solidarity"?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google