The City of Winnipeg, otherwise known as the metropolitan murder capital of Canada, has consistently led the nation in violent crime statistics in categories such as Homicide, Robbery, Sexual Assault, Firearm Offences, Gang and violent youth crime.
As of October 22, 2013 the WPS has investigated a total of nineteen (19) Homicides.
By October 22, 2012 the City of Winnipeg recorded twenty-six (26) murders. By years end, that number increased to a total of thirty (30) killings with all but four (4) cases being solved. When you do the math these numbers equate to an approximate 86% solvency rate.
As a former supervisor in the WPS Homicide Unit, I was often requested to respond to media enquiries regarding Homicide rates, fluctuations and statistics. The usual questions centered on public safety, suppression, interpretation of statistics and unsolved cases.
These enquiries were often met with the standard Police response; Homicide is a tragic unpredictable crime, yearly fluctuations are anticipated and Police are limited in their ability to suppress this type of crime. While it’s true most Homicide victims are killed by someone known to them, the public should have concern regarding the global impact of rampant crime and urban bloodletting.
I can assure you, having the designation of “Murder Capital of Canada” has done nothing to enhance our National reputation or the economic prosperity of our City. Air Canada’s move to abandon the Radisson Hotel based on concerns regarding violent crime in the Downtown area should have been a shot heard around the perimeter.
Yet many Winnipegers dismiss the violent crime and killings as having little or no impact on their daily lives. The ambivalence recently prompted Winnipeg Free Press crime reporter James Turner to write a thought-provoking piece called, “Murder Most Foul and We Don’t Care.” The story centered on the brutal 2009 gang related murders of Dennis Baptiste and Jessie Henderson. The victims and the killer, Kenneth Toby Roulette, were all Aboriginal men in their early twenties.
“Live by the sword, die by the sword,” is a common sentiment expressed by the desensitized masses.
The reality is, Homicide is a symptom of a sick society. The root causes can generally be traced to issues that center on poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, street gangs and organized crime. Issues that must concern every right thinking law-abiding citizen living within our borders.
The Homicide numbers tell us something about where we are and how much work we have to do.
Homicide statistics from Western comparators;
CITY HOMICIDES UNSOLVED SOLVENCY RATE
Winnipeg (19) (3) 84%
Edmonton (19) (8) 57%
Calgary (18) (1) 94%
Regina (7) (2) 71%
Vancouver (5) (2) 60%
Saskatoon (4) (2) 50%