News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

July 10, 2024

Manitoba Government Taking Action to Fight Retail and Violent Crime in Winnipeg

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$1.16-Million Partnership with WPS will Support Businesses and Community: Wiebe

The Manitoba government is extending funding for the ongoing retail and violence crime initiative in Winnipeg through to the end of August with a $1.16-million partnership with the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS), Justice Minister Matt Wiebe announced today.

“When businesses open their doors every morning, they shouldn’t have to worry that they be faced with rampant theft from those who disregard the law,” said Weibe. “Our government will always offer compassionate approaches to those struggling with addictions and mental health issues, but we will not cede any ground on public safety. The partnership with the Winnipeg Police Service has been very successful in addressing the retail crime we were seeing at the start of summer, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from the business community, and so we are pleased to be extending it until the end of August.”

The Manitoba government is providing $1.16 million over the course of the summer to continue to support the Winnipeg Police Service’s enhanced response to violence and retail crime including funding for additional general patrol units to target areas of repeat crime, targeted retail theft initiatives and engagement with business organizations and leaders to improve the safety of retailers and community members.

“Ensuring the safety of our residents and businesses is a top priority,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham, City of Winnipeg. “This extended partnership with the Winnipeg Police Service will provide crucial support, allowing businesses to operate without fear and fostering a safer environment for everyone. This initiative demonstrates the power of partnership and teamwork between the city and province in addressing retail and violent crime in Winnipeg.”

The funding is in addition to public safety basket funding provided by the province to the WPS annually.

“We are grateful that Manitoba Justice is extending the funding through the summer,” said acting chief Art Stannard, Winnipeg Police Service. “At this time of year, our calls for service in the queue consistently exceed 200, which means our members are focused on responding to emergency calls for service. This funding provides the opportunity for us to also focus on community-based policing and enhance our partnerships. Working together we can return the feeling of safety back to the community.”

“Perception is reality, and the reality is that the perception about downtown Winnipeg is changing right now,” said Brian Sharfstein, owner, Canadian Footwear. “We haven’t been dealing with shoplifting, we’ve been dealing with business interruption. Since the Winnipeg police increased their presence downtown, we are absolutely seeing a reduction in incidents. These officers that we’re seeing are bringing trust and confidence to the people working in the area and the general public. I’ve heard from other business owners, and they are also very pleased with what they’re seeing and feeling positive about what’s going on owing to this initiative.”

The enhanced police response to retail crime and violence is another important component of efforts to ensure core areas of Winnipeg are safe for people throughout the summer, Wiebe noted. Related initiatives include nearly $1.5 million from the Manitoba government, mayor’s office and the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ for the Downtown Community Safety Partnership and development of a voluntary safe sobering centre at in N’Dinawemak – Our Relatives’ Place at 190 Disraeli Fwy. announced yesterday.

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