A couple of days ago I wondered aloud if Winnipeg’s 75 per cent drop in auto theft in the past few years has meant a similar decline in the number of high-speed police chases.
The reason being if there has been a drop, that the helicopter will have less work to do.
Here are the numbers as supplied by the Winnipeg Police Service:
2010 (Jan-Sept 1st) = 53 pursuits (There have actually been an additional eight pursuits this year since Sept 1, but police do not have the details on those ones yet).
Of those 53 pursuits from January – September of this year, 36 have been stolen vehicle related.
2009 – 58 pursuits in total, 26 stolen vehicle related
2008 – 51 pursuits in total, 28 stolen vehicle related
2007 – 96 pursuits in total, 59 stolen vehicle related
2006 – 160 pursuits in total, 113 stolen vehicle related
You can come to your own conclusions about the need for a helicopter.
On Wednesday Freep city hall reporter Bartley Kives reported that new police helicopter will be in the air by Dec. 15.
Mayor Sam Katz told reporters the aircraft will be in Winnipeg within a month but is not certain how it will be unveiled to the public.
The Winnipeg Police Service's $3.5-million Eurocopter Canada E-120B Colibri is being outfitted in Fort Erie, Ont. Training flights will take place before the helicopter begins responding to incidents, police chief Keith McCaskill said last week. It will cost $1.3 million a year to operate.
Katz said the city is still looking at a corporate sponsorship deal for the helicopter, but said no such deal is in place.
"We are working to see if we can get Winnipeg Free Press on there," the mayor joked.