Police are urging residents in West Winnipeg to be more vigilant about locking their homes, garages and vehicles to combat a rise in property crime in the area. The Winnipeg Police Service’s 2017 Annual Statistical Report shows an overall increase in crime across the city and a 17 per cent increase in property crimes above the previous five-year average. Officers in the West District — which includes parts of the West End and Wolseley, as well as St. James, Crestview, Westwood and Charleswood — responded to 10,818 property crime incidents last year, which translates to an eight per cent increase from 2016 to 2017. “Generally those neighbourhoods are fairly safe, so people get complacent and I understand why: they’re in their homes,” WPS deputy chief of operations Gord Perrier said. “I think there can be a lot of gains, and very quickly, around the securing of property.” While property crimes are often crimes of opportunity, Perrier said the recent increase in methamphetamine use in Winnipeg is likely playing a role in the uptick in crime across the board. The West District experienced a four per cent rise in violent crimes and a 20 per cent rise in crimes related to the Criminal Drug and Substances Act, which includes possession, trafficking, production and distribution of illicit drugs. “It doesn’t matter where in the city you live, it cuts through socioeconomic groups,” Perrier said of the increase in meth use. “If people try it, even experimentally, addiction can occur very quickly the way that drug affects the brain.” The availability, increased purity and low cost of the drug are contributing factors to the 104 per cent increase in meth users in Manitoba within the last three years. Perrier said underlying mental health issues are also part of the crisis. “This isn’t just addictions by itself, there’s a role in this for mental health as well,” he said. “It’s a difficult thing to be solved, but it’s something that needs to be solved with many agencies.” To tackle the issue, WPS has implemented an Illicit Drug Strategy, dedicated more officers to enforcing laws for distributors and increased collaboration with agencies in the health and education systems. In July, the police force started a targeted campaign with the West End Business Improvement Zone to educate the public on meth addiction. Cadets and community support officers will be interacting with residents and handing out brochures to homes and businesses in the area. West End BIZ executive director Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner said the campaign is a welcome initiative. “This is an amazing community and we want everyone to enjoy it and feel safe,” Cardwell-Hoeppner said. “We see the residue of the drug trade in our area too as our teams pick up hundreds of used needles off the streets each week… people and presence make a difference in safety.” To increase visibility and resources for the community, the organization is adding two more safety patrols to its BIZ Patrol team. Visit winnipeg.ca/police/AnnualReports/annualreports.stm for the full crime statistics report.

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Police are urging residents in West Winnipeg to be more vigilant about locking their homes, garages and vehicles to combat a rise in property crime in the area.
The Winnipeg Police Service’s 2017 Annual Statistical Report shows an overall increase in crime across the city and a 17 per cent increase in property crimes above the previous five-year average. Officers in the West District — which includes parts of the West End and Wolseley, as well as St. James, Crestview, Westwood and Charleswood — responded to 10,818 property crime incidents last year, which translates to an eight per cent increase from 2016 to 2017. 
"Generally those neighbourhoods are fairly safe, so people get complacent and I understand why: they’re in their homes," WPS deputy chief of operations Gord Perrier said. "I think there can be a lot of gains, and very quickly, around the securing of property."
While property crimes are often crimes of opportunity, Perrier said the recent increase in methamphetamine use in Winnipeg is likely playing a role in the uptick in crime across the board. 
The West District experienced a four per cent rise in violent crimes and a 20 per cent rise in crimes related to the Criminal Drug and Substances Act, which includes possession, trafficking, production and distribution of illicit drugs. 
"It doesn’t matter where in the city you live, it cuts through socioeconomic groups," Perrier said of the increase in meth use. "If people try it, even experimentally, addiction can occur very quickly the way that drug affects the brain."
The availability, increased purity and low cost of the drug are contributing factors to the 104 per cent increase in meth users in Manitoba within the last three years. Perrier said underlying mental health issues are also part of the crisis.
"This isn’t just addictions by itself, there’s a role in this for mental health as well," he said. "It’s a difficult thing to be solved, but it’s something that needs to be solved with many agencies."
To tackle the issue, WPS has implemented an Illicit Drug Strategy, dedicated more officers to enforcing laws for distributors and increased collaboration with agencies in the health and education systems. 
In July, the police force started a targeted campaign with the West End Business Improvement Zone to educate the public on meth addiction. Cadets and community support officers will be interacting with residents and handing out brochures to homes and businesses in the area.
West End BIZ executive director Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner said the campaign is a welcome initiative.
"This is an amazing community and we want everyone to enjoy it and feel safe," Cardwell-Hoeppner said. "We see the residue of the drug trade in our area too as our teams pick up hundreds of used needles off the streets each week… people and presence make a difference in safety."
To increase visibility and resources for the community, the organization is adding two more safety patrols to its BIZ Patrol team.
Visit winnipeg.ca/police/AnnualReports/annualreports.stm for the full crime statistics report.

Police are urging residents in West Winnipeg to be more vigilant about locking their homes, garages and vehicles to combat a rise in property crime in the area.

The Winnipeg Police Service’s 2017 Annual Statistical Report shows an overall increase in crime across the city and a 17 per cent increase in property crimes above the previous five-year average.

Officers in the West District — which includes parts of the West End and Wolseley, as well as St. James, Crestview, Westwood and Charleswood — responded to 10,818 property crime incidents last year, which translates to an eight per cent increase from 2016 to 2017.

"Generally those neighbourhoods are fairly safe, so people get complacent and I understand why: they’re in their homes," WPS deputy chief of operations Gord Perrier said. "I think there can be a lot of gains, and very quickly, around the securing of property."

While property crimes are often crimes of opportunity, Perrier said the recent increase in methamphetamine use in Winnipeg is likely playing a role in the uptick in crime across the board. 

The West District experienced a four per cent rise in violent crimes and a 20 per cent rise in crimes related to the Criminal Drug and Substances Act, which includes possession, trafficking, production and distribution of illicit drugs. 

"It doesn’t matter where in the city you live, it cuts through socioeconomic groups," Perrier said of the increase in meth use. "If people try it, even experimentally, addiction can occur very quickly the way that drug affects the brain."

The availability, increased purity and low cost of the drug are contributing factors to the 104 per cent increase in meth users in Manitoba within the last three years. Perrier said underlying mental health issues are also part of the crisis.

"This isn’t just addictions by itself, there’s a role in this for mental health as well," he said. "It’s a difficult thing to be solved, but it’s something that needs to be solved with many agencies."

To tackle the issue, WPS has implemented an Illicit Drug Strategy, dedicated more officers to enforcing laws for distributors and increased collaboration with agencies in the health and education systems.

 In July, the police force started a targeted campaign with the West End Business Improvement Zone to educate the public on meth addiction. Cadets and community support officers will be interacting with residents and handing out brochures to homes and businesses in the area.

West End BIZ executive director Gloria Cardwell-Hoeppner said the campaign is a welcome initiative.

"This is an amazing community and we want everyone to enjoy it and feel safe," Cardwell-Hoeppner said. "We see the residue of the drug trade in our area too as our teams pick up hundreds of used needles off the streets each week… people and presence make a difference in safety."

To increase visibility and resources for the community, the organization is adding two more safety patrols to its BIZ Patrol team.Visit winnipeg.ca/police/AnnualReports/annualreports.stm for the full crime statistics report.

Eva Wasney

Eva Wasney
Arts Reporter

Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.