(James Turner)

It’s official. Winnipeg has broken its annual record for total number of homicides following the death of a man in the downtown Saturday.

That makes 35 ‘officially tallied’ killings (Criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and impaired drive cause death cases aren’t counted.)

Now, it bears mentioning that five killings happened in once instance, during an alleged firebombing in Point Douglas this summer.

Nevertheless, here we are. A sad marker for our city, one that nobody likes to see.

On a positive note, I present here a few — a few — examples of what other cities with high rates of violent crime have tried to do to address the issue.

It’s interesting stuff all around.

1] Chicago:

Chicago’s CeaseFire program evaluation

2] Jacksonville, FLA.

Reducing Murder: A community response

3] District of Columbia

Homicide Reduction Strategy

4] Richmond, Virginia

Intelligence Led Policing

5] TAVIS Toronto (link)

The Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy


13 thoughts on “Homicide and violence reduction

  1. James: WPS already has a strategy for fighting violent crime. They implemented it in late-September. It’s called radio-encryption.

    The purpose was to lock out the media from monitoring (thus covering) calls on the general-dispatch talkgroups. Chief Keith McCaskill believes what the media doesn’t cover, doesn’t happen. His Public Information Office (PIO) also stopped releasing details on all stabbings and other violent incidents over the course of the one month the encryption was active, before officers complained about technical issues with the encryption which were affecting officer safety.

    While the encryption may enhance some aspects of policing, the chief’s bull-headed attitude toward media involvement says it all. He has no solution and his only resolution is to pretend the violence isn’t occurring.

    The main influence which fuels our violent crime in Winnipeg is something you’ve written about before: Alcohol. Losers and their booze. Drinking parties. The nightlife scene. Stupid shit people do when they’re drunk. Those who claim poverty is the main cause are mistaken.

    Ask any cop what makes the dummies on the streets act the way they do. It’s not excessive amounts of Halloween candy.


    1. Do you not think that alcohol consumption is a offshoot problem of poverty, as opposed to the other way around?

      People from all socioeconomic groups drink, you don’t see well off Charleswood kids with hope for the future forming gangs.

      1. I don’t believe alcoholism is caused by poverty. Low-income earners and welfare-abusing bums who choose to consume alcohol are no different than a well-off lawyer who chooses to do the same thing. They make a conscious decision to drink to the point of intoxication. They make poor choices based upon their level of intelligence, character and social influences. One cannot blame poverty for poor choices. People must be held accountable for their poor choices at all times. No excuses.

        Charleswood is far from well-off. There are plenty of ditches, overhead power lines and blue collar workers who call it home. There are also two established Manitoba Housing facilities in the area. There are no Manitoba Housing buildings in Lindenwoods or Whyte Ridge.

        Poverty doesn’t breed crime. People make conscious decisions to engage in crime. Alcohol is a crime-accelerant — Like the boozing establishments along the Main St. strip. Take it away and watch the volume of violent-crimes drop proportionally.

      2. “Charleswood is far from well-off. ”

        Sorry, I can’t form a reply right now, I’m rolling on the floor laughing. Give me a second.

        Okay, wheu, here we go. I love how didn’t even bother to disprove my evidence, you just continued on with same privileged view. Those street gangs sure are rampant in Lindenwoods and Whyte Ridge, better watch out for a drive by from some kids in their parents beamer!

        Do you honestly think, that if someone had a better option, they would choose crime? Do you think people choose to be poor?

        Yup, the north end is the way it is because it’s such a wonderful place where everyone is privileged and well off. You are probably one of those people who is afraid of going downtown because there are people who aren’t the same colour as you and not in the same economic bracket.

        Alcohol is a drug. Same as heroin, caffeine, or anything else. I’d love to take away everyone’s caffeine in the city for one day, just so people could catch a glimpse into the life of someone with substance abuse issues and get off of their high horses.

  2. I don’t know if I agree with some of what you’ve said, McL.

    While limiting media coverage of events was a convenient side-effect of encryption, I’d be reluctant to say it was the sole force behind its inception.

    As for McCaskill pretending the violence isn’t occurring, that goes against recent public statements he’s made to the media. My understanding of his position is that his department can’t solely solve the city’s crime issues. And he’s right.

    My concern is that the police do play a major role in the solution, but haven’t released much detail about the shape that role takes. They’re not obligated to, I get it, but it would be great to see.

    And, while I’d be the first to admit that the PIO doesn’t release everything major (and I’ve written about it ad nauseum), a trip to the police website proves (quote) “His Public Information Office (PIO) also stopped releasing details on all stabbings and other violent incidents over the course of the one month” is too strong and inaccurate.


    Your point about booze is well-taken, natch.

  3. Perhaps I exaggerated my statement about a total lack of proactive (meaning they release it, without media asking about it first) disclosure on violent incidents.

    But I do recall conversing with other media about the lack of disclosure on violent incidents during the month-long period where the encryption was active. Nearly every release was about a missing person, arrests or other item which made the police service look good. Rarely was an incidence of violent crime mentioned during that one-month period.

    When I was out on the streets covering the overnight crime-beat for TV news, I was hopping from call-to-call, numerous times per evening. A nightly token-stabbing was almost guaranteed, as were other newsworthy police-related incidents. (Robbery arrests, idiots lasering the chopper, serious assaults, pursuits, etc.) Traditionally, it slows down over the fall and winter months — but not like hitting a brick wall.

    Am I losing it here? I have plenty of tin foil, but haven’t fashioned it into a hat yet.

  4. I’ll add to your very good list when I’m back in town, James – but whether we use your list of examples or mine or Menno’s, the larger point is that other cities are experimenting and achieving positive results. While they’re on step 10 or 11, the first step we keep missing is the decision to actually do things instead of saying or buying or hiding whatever is necessary to get through the next news cycle.

    The problem is not a lack of policies or examples or approaches. It’s the absolutely shocking failure on the part of Winnipeg’s entire leadership class to act on any of these examples.

  5. Good work James.

    The next TGCTS podcast, which I anticipate to release on Tuesday, will be a crime special, the narrative being all about recent crimes, the quality of police information dissemination, and the “initiatives” recently announced by “Winnipeg’s leadership class.”

    McLeod is more close to right than he is to wrong.

  6. James – It might be worth pointing out that several years ago, Marshall Armstrong and I were the first to pick apart the Crime Stat program as implemented in Winnipeg when clearly other cities, using it properly were getting results.
    It is my belief that the failure to be honest about crime (hows that for a phrase?) continues to doom Winnipeg to a worse situation than it otherwise should be experiencing.
    I suggest you look at any valid behaviour modification program. Every one of them demand a proper recognition of the problem. Efforts to dismiss the full effects of the bad behaviour are only going to delay and dilute any potential solution.

  7. Dave,

    I’ve lived in Charleswood for more than 30 years. If anyone would know if Charleswood is “well off”, I think I would. So you lose there. No I’m not rich, nor do I live in a two-storey house with a trophy wife with bastard kids. I — like many residents of Charleswood, live similar lives to those who inhabit the metropolis of Transcona. Charleswood is quite a large suburb; there may be a street or two with well-kept 80s and 90s homes, but there are certainly no towering mansions around here. And even if there were, who cares? Are you jealous of people who have worked their asses off for what they have? There are plenty of asshat kids who cause problems in Charleswood every night — just like the North End. It’s not a crime-free zone by any stretch.

    As for being privileged, you used this allegation the last time you started a personal attack against me a number of months ago. See, I work for a living. Does that make me better off than some welfare-abusing bum? Absolutely.

    You are a little off. I can’t really reason with you beyond this point. I don’t have time to argue with a liberal or a socialist, so that’s all I have for you, bud.

    Have a great weekend and I hope you and your buddies at the Occupy Winnipeg camp stay warm!

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