EDITORIALS

BOWMAN UTTERS DREADED FOUR LETTER WORD – Falls into Familiar Trap

WINNIPEG CRIME SCENE (PHOTO JGJ)
WINNIPEG CRIME SCENE (PHOTO JGJ)

It seems newly elected Winnipeg Mayor Brain Bowman may have fallen into a familiar trap.

The controversy grew legs when The Boss of Talk – Charles Adler called out Troy Media Editor-in-Chief, Doug Firby, for penning his racially infused literary attack on River City.

Firby labelled Winnipeg, “Canada’s Detroit” and went to great lengths to underline our social problems, crime rate and economic challenges.

The article prompted a pointed twitter response from Winnipeg Free Press reporter Bartley Kives;

Twitter - Screen Shot
Twitter – Screen Shot

Whether the Mayor should have dignified the story or not is open to debate.

What shouldn’t be open for debate is the issue of safety in our crime challenged City.  That didn’t stop Mr. Bowman from sliding down the slippery slope.

There are a number of reasons why Mayor Bowman should not have fallen into the familiar trap of asserting our Downtown is “safe.”

The most significant reason is it’s not true.

The Facts

  • November 8, 2014 – Rinelle Harper (16) brutally sexually assaulted and left for dead under the Donald Street Bridge.
  • August 1, 2014 – Thirty-five (35) year old female victim brutally sexually assaulted in the area of the Donald Street Bridge.
  • May 4, 2014 – Rustom Paclipan (23) shot and killed at the Opera Ultralounge at 441 Main Street in what police called a gang related attack.
  • February 15, 2013 – William Moar (24) gunned down at Johnny G’s restaurant at 172 Main Street in a gang motivated attack.
  • April 2, 2013 – Nigel Dixon (20) gunned down by gang members in the 500 block of Langside Street in misguided attempt to defend gang turf.
  • March 16, 2011 – Adbul Jemei (22) stabbed to death behind Portage Place in a senseless killing with racial overtones.  Investigation revealed serious concerns regarding youth armed with firearms, knives and improvised weapons frequenting Portage Place and the surrounding area.

In “safe” Cities, people don’t get brutally raped or murdered by thugs or gangsters in or near the Downtown area.

Mayor Sam Katz fell into the same trap when he asserted, “I have no problem going downtown, I have no problem going to the North End, regardless of the day of the week, regardless of what time it is.”

I’m sorry, that kind of denial is reckless and irresponsible.

The reality is Winnipeg is a National leader in homicide, youth crime, robbery, violent crime and gang crime.

The stats don’t lie.

Mr. Bowman must concern himself with creating a true culture of safety in Downtown Winnipeg and not getting caught up in making optimistic proclamations that can be instantly shattered by the flash of gunfire or the thrust of a steel blade.

Responsible leaders of crime challenged urban centres should never get caught up in the public safety spin game.

Proclamations of public safety simply don’t cut it.

Perceptions of public safety simply don’t cut it.

The time has come to confront the ugly truth and make downtown safety in Winnipeg a top priority.

Winnipeg residents deserve nothing less.

6 Comments

  1. James,
    It would be interesting to see the statistics of how many of the city’s violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, or people on parole, or wanted on outstanding warrants. I suspect there’s a strong correlation. This would prove that in addition to a crime problem, we really have a “justice system” problem. It would highlight the revolving door system our police are faced with. Innocent people are being assaulted, robbed, raped and killed by perpetrators who should be locked away from society rather than set free to prey.

  2. Are you suggesting that because the incidents are spread out over four years that somehow the time gap diminishes the reality that Downtown is not safe?

    When I wrote the article I focused on several high profile crimes that clearly demonstrate how dangerous our City is.

    I could have filled the article with statistics regarding dozens of violent crimes that include strong arm robberies, sexual assaults, stabbings etc. I didn’t think it was necessary.

    You’ll note I never even bothered to mention property crimes because they generally don’t impact public safety. That doesn’t diminish the impact of dozens of vehicle break and enters, commercial & residential break and enters and other crimes that occur in the downtown every year.

    Langside might not be downtown but it is less than a 5 minute walk to downtown from where Mr Dixon and his female friend were brutally gunned down by hardcore gang members.

    I never suggested other Cities don’t experience crime in the downtown.

    The point of my article was to caution our newly elected Major from falling into the same old trap of calling our City and downtown safe when we all know its not.

    Yes, other Cities have crime problems in their downtown areas, but the stats don’t lie, we have Nation leading crime in our City.

    Why deny that?

    If we accept our reality we can start working on a strategy to effect change.

    Thats how I see it.

  3. The incidents that you list are spread over four years. Please name a city that doesn’t experience some violent crime in its downtown.
    P.S. Langside isn’t downtown.

  4. Well, I don’t know how to say this without getting into trouble but… him with his native background has not much choice than to defend his heritage. If he says there’s a problem and identifies it, he’s in trouble with one group. If he denies there’s a problem he’s in trouble with another. There might be a conflict of interest here.

  5. Bowman has no other choice but to proclaim that our city, and specifically our downtown, is safe. His bags are packed, he’s set to tour the country to recruit people to come live, work, and play here. The fact that he has the cart before the horse isn’t going to deter him. He already Conducts himself with the kind of brazen arrogance as his predecessor as he clearly thinks he reigns over a city full of blind, ignorant and ill informed morons.

  6. We needed a strong boot-camp long ago!

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