November 18, 2019

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When crime hits home

When it comes to break and enters, downtown neighbourhoods hardest hit

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/10/2018 (410 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/10/2018 (410 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When Ryan Giovi pulled into his driveway one evening in September 2017, he noticed his front door had been kicked in.

It was the second time in three months he’d been the victim of a break-and-enter. Earlier that year, on Father’s Day, thieves broke into his garage overnight and cleared out an estimated $19,000 worth of his belongings.

"Everything I had been scrimping and saving for over the years was gone: bicycles, kayak, photo lenses, the list was huge," Giovi, 47, said.

Homeowner. Ryan Giovi, had his home broken into twice in 2017.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Homeowner. Ryan Giovi, had his home broken into twice in 2017.

He was frustrated, and convinced that crime in the River Heights neighbourhood where he’d grown up was getting out of hand.

"It doesn’t seem like anyone is doing anything about it. The problem is not diminishing, it’s flourishing," he said.

Data obtained by the Free Press through a freedom of information request show Giovi is one of several thousand Winnipeggers who filed residential break-and-enter reports in 2017.

The Free Press analyzed a log of 275,670 police dispatches from Jan. 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, which included details such as event type, priority level, date, time and approximate location.

Residential break and enters, 2017

Seven Oaks

Inkster

River East

        Point Douglas

St James-Assiniboia

   Downtown

       St. Boniface

        Transcona

River Heights

Assiniboine South

        St. Vital

Fort Garry

Source: Winnipeg police call data. Locations are approximate. Calls do not include garage break-ins

Residential break and enters, 2017

Seven Oaks

Inkster

River East

Point Douglas

St James-Assiniboia

Downtown

St. Boniface

Transcona

River Heights

Assiniboine South

St. Vital

Fort Garry

Source: Winnipeg police call data. Locations are approximate.

Residential break and enters, 2017

Source: Winnipeg police call data. Locations are approximate

Residential break and enters, 2017

Source: Winnipeg police call data. Locations are approximate.

While downtown was hit the hardest in terms of residential break-and-enters, other non-core neighbourhoods were also affected.

Police were dispatched to 3,918 residential break-and-enters in 2017, averaging out to roughly 10 per day. The peak day was May 17, when 30 residential break-and-enters were reported.

Police define a residential break-and-enter as having a home or attached garage broken into.

The amount of reports made to the Winnipeg Police Service call centre fluctuated month to month. The data show an increase in reports during April and May, suggesting warmer spring temperatures led to an increase in that crime.

"Every single day it’s more break-and-enters, more homes, more garages, more scammers coming to the front door, more bicycles being stolen, more people going down back lanes and stealing things, smashing into cars and stealing things," Giovi said.

 

 

The opinion expressed by Giovi isn't rare. It's a common theme on social media sites run by anti-crime and neighbourhood safety groups for Winnipeg communities such as River Heights.

Some of the groups have thousands of members who routinely post accounts of being the victims of property crime, as well as surveillance footage from home security systems.

It's also become a municipal election issue for at least one candidate, former River Heights city councillor Garth Steek, who's running to regain his former job. On Aug. 21, Steek held a public safety forum to discuss crime in the area, which he declared had "spiralled out of control" in recent years.

"It’s kind of reaching a tipping point where it feels like a community that was previously safe isn’t now." - Wolseley resident Adam Hanson

The 2017 data obtained by the Free Press suggest there wasn't a significant increase in break-and-enters in River Heights compared with other neighbourhoods such as St. Boniface, St. Vital, St. James and Assiniboia.

In the most recent WPS annual report, police reported 2,973 instances of property crime in River Heights in 2017, although it wasn’t broken down into specific crime categories. That figure represented a 6.8 per cent increase over the five-year average for the neighbourhood.

411 on 911

Click to Expand

This is the third of a four-part series based on a Free Press data analysis of 275,670 instances in which Winnipeg Police Service officers were dispatched between Jan. 1 2017 and March 31, 2018.

Part 1: Officers are dispatched an average of 600 times a day; the Free Press finds out where they're headed and why

Part 2: There were just nine days in 2017 without reports of firearms sightings in Winnipeg

There were 5,108 break-and-enters last year, including both residential and commercial hits. That’s a seven per cent increase over the city’s five-year average.

Throughout the city, property crime rose nine per cent in 2017 over 2016, a spike police chief Danny Smyth has attributed to the rise in methamphetamine use in Winnipeg.

What’s clear is that when it comes to property crime, and residential break-and-enters specifically, downtown neighbourhoods are harder hit than any other area of the city.

Adam Hanson, 37, who has lived in Wolseley since 2004, recently had his home broken into while he was working. He believes crime has risen to an unprecedented level in his neighbourhood.

"There seems to be a real increase in these types of incidents. It’s kind of reaching a tipping point where it feels like a community that was previously safe isn’t now. This is getting worse," Hanson said.

"There’s a bit of a community forming now with people saying, ‘What do we do about this?’"


ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.ca
Twitter: @rk_thorpe

graeme.bruce@freepress.mb.ca
Twitter: @grjbruce

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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