With crime rates on the rise in downtown Winnipeg, the province is taking action to improve the safety of Winnipeggers who live, work and visit the area.
The province plans to spend over $10 million over two years on downtown Winnipeg safety measures to enhance public safety and foster a secure environment.
“Manitobans have the right to feel safe in their homes and their communities,” said Premier Heather Stefanson. “With this investment of over $10 million, we are giving front-line police officers the resources they need to make our streets safer. Our government will always defend — not defund — the police.”
On May 30, the Winnipeg Police Service released their statistical report which revealed a concerning 25.6 percent increase in total crime compared to the previous year and a 17 percent increase over the five-year average.
"We recognize the pressing need to address the concerning trends of rising crime rates in downtown Winnipeg,” said Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “Included in the record investment of $52 million in funding in the Violent Crime Strategy, this $10 million specifically towards crime and safety initiatives in downtown Winnipeg will enable us to implement with our partners proactive measures and comprehensive programs aimed at creating a safer environment.”
“Downtown Winnipeg is recovering. Safety and security in public spaces is paramount to that recovery. The Winnipeg Police Service has a significant role in the delivery of services that ensures the safety of all who live and work downtown, and those who visit the Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District for leisure and entertainment,” said Chief Danny Smyth, Winnipeg Police Service. “I want to thank the Manitoba government for the opportunity to enhance our partnership with the Downtown Community Safety Partnership. Together we can deliver a more co-ordinated and comprehensive service that ensures the right resources are deployed at the right time.”
The funding will be used to provide additional resources to enhance community safety and well-being and collaboration between the Downtown Community Safety Partnership (DCSP) and WPS. This will also include the deployment of 24 new police officers dedicated to downtown safety measures.
The DSCP is a locally developed initiative focused on providing 24-7 support, non-emergency responses, and prevention and outreach programs that aim for long-term solutions. By implementing a proactive downtown presence and delivering comprehensive care, this partnership seeks to bring about significant positive change for individuals and the broader downtown community.
A portion of the $10 million will also go towards an expanded CCTV network and enhanced lighting
“Revitalizing our downtown begins with rebuilding confidence among those who live, work, and shop in the area, and today’s announcement will be a significant step towards that,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham, City of Winnipeg. “Building a stronger partnership between police, DCSP, and other agencies is an important part of a multipronged strategy that includes housing, transit, recreation, greenspace, and small business. Our vision is to foster a thriving downtown community that is filled with people day and night.”