WINNIPEG – Winnipeg could lose its unwanted title of violent crime capital of Canada, in just a couple of years.
The Winnipeg Police Service’s annual statistical report on crimes committed in 2013, which was released Tuesday, shows a 14 per cent decrease in overall crime, a 13 per cent decrease in violent crime and a 17 per cent drop in property crime for Winnipeg.
“We are on the right track,” said Winnipeg police Chief Devon Clunis.
There has been a steady decline in crime rates in Manitoba’s capital, but criminal activity is still well above the national average. On Wednesday, Statistics Canada is expected to release its annual Crime Severity Index, which in 2012 showed Winnipeg as the most violent city in Canada.
“It’s difficult for us to always compare ourselves to someone else, when you look at our own stats relative to what was occurring in our city last year or five years ago, we are down significantly,” Clunis said.
And if the trend continues, police are confident the dubious distinction of ‘crime capital’ could finally be dropped.
“If we do what’s been going on in the last couple of years I think we are a year or two away to be at that national average for sure, and potentially under,” said police Superintendent Gord Perrier.
Police brass credit more officers in the community and a beefed up crime analysis unit as part of the reason for the change.
That unit recently went from 2 to 6 statisticians, to crunch the data and potentially predict where police need to be.
The crime statistics released by police Tuesday trend down in most areas, although there was a spike in attempted murders, sexual assaults with a weapon, firearms offences, extortion and criminal harassment.