Say hello to last year

(Winnipeg Police Service)

One month before 2011 is set to begin, The Winnipeg Police Service officially releases its annual report for 2009.

 

Oddly, they’re also holding a press conference for reporters to discuss, ask questions about and dissect last year’s news.

I’ll save you the trouble. There’s none to be found in it. Well, almost.

Problem is it’s unfair to claim this data as reflective of anything because it’s so old.

Once again, the report notes police spend a lot of their time going to domestic disturbances. It’s far and away the patrol officer’s #1 job.

 

 

Homicide clearances are the same as in 2008, at 81 per cent. So, roughly 1 in 5 go unsolved. Not bad, given the gang problem in the city.

(Winnipeg Police Service)

Two other things jump out: (see chart)

 

1] The number of firearms/offensive weapons crimes jumped 46 per cent over 2008 — what appears to be a jump of about 200+ occurrences. A reflection of how much more potentially dangerous the city’s become — not just for the public — but for police officers as well.

2] A spike in robberies of 30 per cent, with a clearance rate of 29 per cent.

Robberies, however, were up 30 per cent last year over 2008.

That’s concerning, as robberies are frequently identified by the general public as a crime they are greatly concerned about. They should be.

In 2007-08, we saw a drop in robberies of about 16 per cent, but the clearance rate remained the same.

Arsons were also up in 2009 — by 35 per cent — but the clearance rate a slim 16 per cent.

The year before that, arsons jumped by a whopping 58 per cent, but the clearance rate was standing at about 26 per cent.

The thing that jumped out at me the most from last year’s report, however, has to be this statement:

Analysis has revealed that about 70% of the 5,000 missing person reports managed each year by the WPS are wards of child protection agencies. Many of these youths are chronic runaways, some with more than 150 police contacts. Research and experience has taught us that these chronic run- aways are frequently victimized, criminalized and exploited by predators while on the run from child- care facilities.

That just says to me the province is offloading its responsibility to care and watch over these kids to the police service and the city.

More must be done to supervise them, or the province should be kicking in more to pay for apprehending them.

Better yet — one thing the province could do is detail some probation officers to a quasi missing persons unit to head out and look for these kids. Would cost less and free up police officer time to bust robbers and gun-traffickers, instead of babysit.

But, who knows. It’s year-old news. Maybe everything’s changed since the dawn of 2010.

2009_wps_annual_report_english – PDF is 2+MB in size.

-30-

PS: I did love this picture in it to accompany the page describing the “investigative” units:

(Winnipeg Police Service)

The suit-wearing suspect just says something to me, I guess.

Fort Rouge Yards Master Plan

(City of Winnipeg/Gem Equities/Lexington/White Architecture)

The city has tabled the master planning document for the Fort Rouge Yards [Lord Roberts area] Transit-oriented-development.

Complete document is here: FRY-planning.pdf

According to the developers, the plan — if approved by four levels of civic oversight — would see the following happen:

The development will be built in three phases:

  1. Phase 1 – townhouses (construction expected to begin in 2011)
  2. Phase 2 – mid-rise apartments and condominiums (2012-14)
  3. Phase 3 – high-rise apartments and condominiums (2013-15)

Personally, if the development does anything to bring a wine and cheese store to the area that I can stagger to, I’m all for it.

Anyhow— goes before city centre committee on Tuesday, then must be approved by public works, EPC and then council as a whole at subsequent dates.

Be interesting to see who’s paying attention, and what issues get raised along its path to likely approval.

Not to say it hasn’t been without at least some measure of controversy.

It was also the first I had heard of Gem Equities involvement — and I admittedly haven’t been paying too much attention — as a developer for the land they swapped with the city for the rapid transit line.

But, as I learned through the Google, the company had already voiced plans to redevelop the land for housing way back in 2008.

Interesting.

At least it’s not another suburb on the southern outskirts.

[UPDATE] This document contains the Strategic Economic Agreement with the developer, the bylaw amendment proposals and “rules” of the amendments, along with studies about the effect the high-rises will have on the area in terms of vista and shadow creep.

It also provides a look into a the future, which is interesting:

(City of Winnipeg)
(City of Winnipeg)
(City of Winnipeg)
(City of Winnipeg)

‘Known to police’

All photos City of Winnipeg

It looks as if one of the city’s most notoriously violent rooming houses goes under the microscope — or something like it — on Monday.

In the last three years, I’ve been at 624-626 Balmoral St. more times than I can count on both hands. Not to buy crack, but to take in the latest (usually drug-fuelled) mayhem du jour there.

Usually the headline looks something like this:

Man shot at violent Winnipeg rooming house

And then the lede:

A 27-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot at a notoriously violent rooming house in Winnipeg early Wednesday morning.

You could wallpaper the entire place with the amount of police tape that’s been used there in the past little while. But, judging from the pictures above, the decor is not exactly top-of-mind for the owner or people who have lived there over the years.

[UPDATE: Here at this link is a TV piece by CBC Manitoba’s crime reporter Gosia Sawicka. Money quote regarding the former owner: “Things weren’t changing so he gave up.”]

2 homicides in just over a year

In the span of just a couple of months in 2008-09, two people were killed at the rooming house. I may have lost count of the other episodes of mayhem, but here’s the quick rundown of the homicides. If I’m not mistaken, there was another not too long ago. Just can’t quite remember it.

On Nov. 8, 2008, Philip Mayur was stabbed to death on the second floor. The 39-year-old man had arrived in Canada from Africa in the late ’90s and made his way from Ontario to Winnipeg. Media reports said Mayur was the father of four children.

On Dec. 4, police announced the arrest of two men in connection to Mayur’s death. The suspects, aged 26 and 42, were charged with first-degree murder, meaning police believe the killing was planned and premeditated. Their cases are still before the courts.

Last January, Valerie Paypompee, 36, was fatally stabbed in a suite on the second floor of the building. Police allege her boyfriend killed her during a domestic dispute. Paypompee, who was from Shoal Lake, Ont., was Winnipeg’s second homicide of 2009.

Mulugeta Geddy Gillamichael, 34, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with her death. Gillamichael, originally from Ethiopia, was committed to stand trial in Court of Queen’s Bench in November, but no trial dates have been set.

Anyhow,

City inspectors finally got a clue or a tip that something was wrong there, went in on Sept. 22 and found — gasp! — major structural problems with the place. They’re threatening to sue or even have it closed down under the livability bylaw:

The specific Order stated:

• 624 – Head clearance on the west side stairs leading to the 2nd floor is 171 cm • 626 – 3rd floor stairwell head clearance is 158 cm • 626 – 2nd floor stairwell’s head clearance is 165 cm

1. Section 50(c) – Ensure that the stairways have a minimum head room of at least 195 cm, measured vertically from a line drawn through the outer edges of the nosing.

• 626 – 3rd floor stairwell is 27 cm wide

2. Section 52(1)(b) – Ensure habitable rooms in attics or partial storeys will have stairways leading to the dwelling must be at least 75 cm wide and must not be inclined to an angle of more than 50 degrees from horizontal and must be provided with a minimum clearance height of 180 cm measured vertically from a line drawn through the outer edges of the nosing.

Compliance date: November 5, 2010

The owners are appealing [the work was to be done by Nov. 5] and will have to appear in front of Gord Steeves and the other members of the city’s protection and community services committee to voice their objection and ask for more time.

In a letter notifying the city of his appeal the owner says he’s owned the building less than a year and has been hamstrung by debt to pay for repairs. He does, however, say he’s hoping to save enough to install cameras that will somehow help residents and neighbours feel safer.

Give him a year, he says, and he’ll be “more open to considering” doing such major structural work.

At the end of the day, however, what would probably make everyone feel safer is if the poor souls inside were cleared out and the entire block was bulldozed.

Here’s hoping that’s what Steeves et al. decide to do.

We should be ashamed that people are even allowed to go within 10 feet of the entranceways given what’s gone on there over the years.

RIP, TGCTS

The Kick FM website is currently featuring this posting

I don’t know why, and very little about how it happened, but Marty Gold’s Great Canadian Talk Show on Winnipeg’s 92.9 Kick FM [Red River College’s campus station] is not longer.

You can read far more about the demise of the show here, or here. If you believe the whole RRC “kills freedom of speech” spin, you can go here to participate.

I’ve been a quiet fan of the show for some time now, for the sole reason that regardless of one’s feelings about its host, it was information about Winnipeg that you just couldn’t get anywhere else.

In my view, the show’s recent coverage of the civic election was must-listen radio for those interested in civic issues. Each Friday afternoon [my day off] for the last few months now, I would grab a good cup of coffee and go through the archive of the week’s shows

I wrote recently about the 10 things from the civic election campaign I was going to miss.

Number one in the list was how the alternative media had a unifying theme that gave way to a lot of good debate and discussion about the city, its future and the quality of our leadership.

Well, thinking about this again this morning, I realize now what a huge part TGCTS played in fuelling the debate.

In addition to presenting long-form sit downs with the mayoral and councillor candidates, Marty Gold featured the best of local bloggers and other civic-minded guests on a number of occasions and engaged them in discussions that were insightful and interesting.

On a number of occasions, the show broke stories about civic issues that the MSM was forced to play catch up with. If that’s not a marker of good, engaging radio that people would enjoy, I don’t know what would be.

However, one recent moment stands out in my mind, and I’m still thinking about it today in how it may have been a portent for the show’s future.

Former Katz adviser turned policy blogger and author Brian Kelcey was on as a feature guest, and at one point, he offered Gold a small piece of advice.

“Push, don’t point,” he said, in reference to the host’s predilection to name names and call out officials for their various behaviours and perceived wrongdoings — one of the things that made the show special, if not downright jarring on some days.

Push, don’t point.

Like I said, I don’t know why the show was cut.

It could be that the new president of RRC couldn’t understand why her school’s flagship radio show was run by a person who didn’t attend classes there. It could be because the school was threatened with legal action. It could be because a provincial election is on the way. It could be because it was just time for it to be done.

It could be because Gold pointed at the wrong person where he should have pushed.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that as citizens, we’re worse off for its demise.

And I have to find another Friday afternoon tradition.

Mynarksi, polling results by station

The Katz-supporting and well-spoken Jenny Motkaluk is defeated by Ross Eadie just days after a triple shooting in the crime-troubled area.

Interesting that in the Mynarski area hardest hit by crime, Motkaluk took her only polling victory at Children of the Earth School.

I guess the parts of the ward where Eadie really cleaned up are “not a crime disaster” as he famously said of the area not long ago.

Motkaluk also took the seniors vote in the advance polls.

Greg Littlejohn also seems to have run a fairly well-recieved campaign.

Elmwood-East-Kildonan, station by station

We now have our first former NHL’er as city councillor (I believe).

Wow. What a race — this one, more than any others likely peeved the NDP off completely.

Still, I’m glad Giesbrecht had the courage to run. He did rather well under the circumstances, judging by the results.

[Note: please forgive the placement of the ‘Jet’ between Talbot and Nairn – it’s the advance results (which Steen narrowly took) and I had to put it somewhere…]

St. Vital, polling station by station

Will Gord Steeves run for mayor in 2014?

His entrenched support seems to indicate he’d do very well in his own backyard.

One note: Although Steeves ran away with this election, It must be noted that Wolbert’s support near the Glenlawn polling station was on the higher side.

Or, conversely, Steeves support was strangely flat.

Maybe a walk around the area is in order…