Rash of vehicle break-ins at HSC parkade
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This article was published 12/07/2022 (326 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A front-line worker at Health Sciences Centre says staff feel unsafe after a string of vehicle break-ins at a hospital parkade.
“They’re worried if their car is going to be broken into, or they’re worried that there’s a potential that they could be assaulted or hurt when they’re in the parkade,” said the employee, who wants to stay anonymous out of concerns for his safety.
His vehicle was one of several that had been broken into and vandalized in the HSC Tecumseh Street parkade Saturday night. The back windshield was shattered after thieves attempted to pick two of the locks and scratching the paint in the process. He said at least one vehicle in the parkade had its tires slashed and its owner wasn’t able to get home.
Just six weeks ago, equipment and his prescription sunglasses were stolen from his vehicle.
“A lot of our employees have had troubles with the parkade in the past. It seems like everyone’s frustrated because you talk to the parking officers and they give you the run-around that they’re working on things and yada yada yada, and it doesn’t seem like anything’s getting done,” he said.
He said security is lax at the parkade. When staff was told a number of cars had been vandalized, his licence plate wasn’t on the list. He only found out after checking his car at 1:30 a.m.
Many staff fear for their safety when using the parkade, he said, especially after dark.
“Everyone feels that way. Being an employee, we always wonder. I asked the parking officers today, because I was pretty upset, ‘When are you guys actually going to make a change, after someone gets assaulted in the parkade?’” he said.
“Vehicles can always be replaced… but if someone gets hurt, that’s another story.”
A spokesperson for Shared Health said security was advised four vehicles had been broken into. There are “dozens” of security cameras across the parkade, and multiple patrol units, he said.
“We are aware of recent vehicle break-ins that have unfortunately occurred at one of our on-campus parkades,” the spokesperson said in an email. “HSC Winnipeg’s security services team has made Winnipeg police aware of the incidents and is reviewing operational measures.”
The health worker tells a different story. He said it’s common for there to be no security guard in the parkade when he walks to his vehicle, and that the parkade doesn’t appear to be well-monitored.
“(The parking office) says they have two security vehicles in the parkade. That’s not true,” he said. “They’re not always present, so they don’t know what’s going on in the parkade at all times.”
HSC security can provide escort services, and panic alarms are located in all parkades, the Shared Health spokesperson said.
“Fortunately, these recent incidents were non-violent in nature and no aggressive confrontations have occurred in our parkades in recent years,” he said.
Bear Clan Patrol executive director Kevin Walker said the key to being protected in a parkade is to stay alert.
“Just be aware of your surroundings. That’s the No. 1 thing,” he said.
“If you’re going to be downtown by yourself, make sure to tell someone where you’re going, when you’re planning on coming home — the simple things that we tend to forget about.”
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.