Crime in Winnipeg up 11%* in 2015


The numbers in this post are  based on the 10 crime types tracked by the City of Winnipeg Crimestat program between January 1 2015 and December 31 2015.  

* The original version of the post represented crime numbers  up until December 28th 2015.  

 

City Wide Highlights

The Good

Murders are down by 19%,  with 22 compared to 27 in 2014.

Attempted theft of motor vehicle is down 10%.

Sexual assaults are down 4%.

The Bad

Theft of motor vehicle is up 3%.

Non-commercial robberies (muggings) are up 3%.

Shootings are up 9%

Break and enter other (stand alone  buildings) are up 10%

The Ugly

Residential break ins are up 19%.

Commercial break ins are up 22%.

Commercial robberies are up 36%.

 

District 1

District 1 saw an overall increase of 15%*.  The  increase can be largely attributed to break ins other (57%), residential break ins (29%),  attempt theft of motor vehicle (17%) and theft of motor vehicle (12%).   Most other categories were static. On a positive note murders dropped by 50% to 7 from 14 in 2014.

District 2

District 2 saw an overall increase of 20%*, led by commercial break ins (51%), commercial robberies (21%), break and enter other (18%), residential break ins (15%), and theft of motor vehicle (17%).

District 3

District 3 was the only district that saw a drop in crime, down 5%*.  Attempt theft of motor vehicle was down (22%), theft of motor vehicle down (19%), break and enter other down (16%), commercial break ins down (14%).  Commercial robberies were up (44%), as were sexual assaults (29%), and residential break ins (14%).

District 4

The increase in District 4 was 16%*.  The biggest factors contributing to the increase were commercial robberies (83%), commercial break ins (50%), residential break ins (20%) and non commercial robberies (10%).

Downtown

The area defined as the ‘Downtown’ saw an increase of 6%.  The offences that pushed the numbers up in the downtown area were primarily break and enter other (143%), and residential break ins (32%).

Observations

  1. Residential break ins were up in all four Districts ranging from 14 to 29%, with a city-wide average increase  of 19%.
  2. The number of stolen vehicles went up in all districts except District 3 which saw a reduction of 19%.
  3. Break and enter other increased in all districts except District 3 which saw a reduction of 16%.
  4. Commercial break ins  went up 22% city-wide but were reduced by 14% in District 3.

Questions

  1.  What, in policing terms, was done differently in District 3 compared to the other three Districts in 2015?
  2.  Were a significant number of personnel assigned to the other three Districts shifted to  District 3?
  3. What steps will the Winnipeg Police Service be taking to address the significant increase in the number of break ins and robberies?

A future post will provide a further breakdown of crime by Electoral Wards, as well as a look at  some specific neighbourhoods.

*Update

The statistics in the original post which covered the period from January 1, 2015 to December 28 2015 have been amended to correspond to what currently appears on the Crimestat site which included the last 3 days of 2015.

The changes made are as follows:

City wide rate changed from +9% to +11%

District 1   from +12% to +15%

District 2 from +18% to +20%

District 3 from -6% to -5%

District 4 from +15% to +16%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February 2012 Crime Data

February 2012 Crime Statistics for Winnipeg (for crimes tracked by Crimestat)


Crime Type Year-to-Date Comparison Selected Filter Comparison
Jan 1, 2012
To
Feb 29, 2012
Jan 1, 2011
To
Feb 28, 2011
% Change Feb 1, 2012
To
Feb 29, 2012
Feb 1, 2011
To
Feb 28, 2011
% Change
 Break & Enters – Commercial
148 102 45% 65 51 27%
 Break & Enters – Other
125 106 18% 41 45 -9%
 Break & Enters – Residential
327 345 -5% 152 190 -20%
 Homicide
5 7 -29% 3 4 -25%
 Robbery – Commercial/Financial
61 50 22% 42 12 250%
 Robbery – Non-Commercial/Financial
227 181 25% 101 84 20%
 Sexual Assault
23 27 -15% 12 9 33%
 Shooting
12 3 300% 6 1 500%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Actual
187 254 -26% 113 110 3%
 Theft Motor Vehicle – Attempt Only
122 198 -38% 76 84 -10%
Total 1,237 1,273 -3% 611 590 4%

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

Highlights

1.  City wide crime (for crimes tracked by Crimestat) for the first 2 months of the year is down 3%.

2.  The month of February however saw a 4% increase in crime.

3.  Auto theft was up 3% in February.

4.  Residential break-ins are down but commercial break-in are rising.

5.  Robberies are on the increase (commercial robberies up 250% in February).

6.  Dramatic percentage increase in the number of shootings although the actual numbers are still small.

Caution:  The rise (though modest) in the number of auto thefts is a concern.  After years of declines this is the first reversal I recall.  Steps should be taken to address this.

Using Crimestat to Best Advantage

What is Crimestat and how does it work – a brief history

On July 26th 2006 Council passed a resolution that directed the Administration to report back to Executive Policy Committee (EPC) and the Standing Committee on Protection and Community Services on the following:

What, if any, additional resources will be required to develop and implement a COMPSTAT style management and accountability mechanism that will provide weekly updates to citizens on crime trends on a geographical basis across each of the Police Districts; and, propose how the existing Police Command structure with its specialized operational units can be augmented by weekly organizational and strategy meetings chaired by the Chief of Police to respond to crime and safety concerns across each geographical districts and coordinate Clean Sweep Task Force Operations; and

How the Administration proposes to measure Police Service outcomes related to crime prevention and enhancement of neighborhood safety.

This direction resulted in the preparation and submission of a report outlining a Neighborhood Safety and Crime Prevention initiative which became known as Crimestat.

The nuts and bolts of the Crimestat initiative are contained in a report from the Police Service to Standing Committee dated January 5th 2007   which can be accessed at:

http://www.winnipeg.ca/clkdmis/ViewDoc.asp?DocId=6830&SectionId=&InitUrl=  (look under Reports at the top of the page and scroll down to #85)

For the casual observer, Crimestat is simply a website that displays crime statistics and crime maps.  For police, it’s significance is far greater.  Crimestat is a management and accountability strategy that directs police commanders to concentrate on emerging crime issues and trends in the area under their command.  It forces them to track criminal activity in their area, identify emerging crime trends, develop effective tactics, and deploy resources quickly to deal with emerging trends in their early stages before they develop into a full blown crime spree.  Lastly, there is follow-up and assessment by the executive.  This is the accountability feature of the process that ensures everyone (commanders in particular) have their eyes ‘focused on the ball’, the ball being crime prevention and crime reduction.

When Crimestat was introduced in Winnipeg in 2007 many were convinced that it could be a useful tool to prevent crime, not in the traditional crime prevention sense in terms of programming, but rather in an operational sense.  What is visible on the public side of the Crimestat site is less detailed than what is available on the police side.  If one studies the numbers (on the police side), specific crime trends can be seen developing in specific areas of the city.  These trends can be nipped in the bud so to speak, largely by identifying and arresting perpetrators.  These preemptive arrests prevent the trend from continuing and reduce the amount of crime.  It’s not the be all and end all but it is a valuable tool.  Like any tool, though, in order for it to work effectively a few basic rules must be followed.

Here is an illustration of how it works:  Using the neighbourhood of South Point Douglas as an example we can go back and have a look at the early stages of what looks to be a pattern of commercial break-ins.

Going back to July of  2009 (on the public site of the Crimestat site you can only go back one year) we see that during the months of July there were 3 break-ins in South Point Douglas.

For the sake of this exercise we will make that the starting point of a ‘trend’.  

July 2009 (3 break-ins)

Source: Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

August 2009  (3 break-ins)

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

September 2009   (6 break-ins)

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

This trend continued with 0 in October, 3 in November, 1 in December, 3 in January, 0 in February, 4 in March, 2 in April and 5 in May.

At the end of almost a year the crime map for South Point Douglas looks like this:

July 1st 2009 to May 30th 2010

Source:  Winnipeg Police Crimestat website

During that 11 month period there were 30 commercial break-ins in the South Point Douglas neighbourhood.

Police Commanders are provided with this information virtually in real time.  As a trend such as this one develops, commanders assign resources and tactics are developed.  That is, if the series of events is recognized as a trend.  Because there is a high likelihood that these 30 break-ins in close proximity to each other were not committed by 30 different perpetrators but rather by 1 or a group of individuals known to each other, the trend can be halted by identifying and arresting that individual  or group of individuals.

Had that been done back in  July of 2009 when the first break-ins in South Point Douglas occurred the next 30 could perhaps  have been prevented.

That is a simplistic example of how division commanders can use Crimestat to prevent crime.  The principle can be applied to other crimes at the community level.

Crimestat was designed to be a tool to track crime in our city’s neighbourhoods.  It does that very well.  The process has a proven record in helping to combat crime throughout major cities in North America.  In order for it to be  effective the tool must be used in the manner it was designed to be used.  All players in the system must understand and execute their roles.  Division Commanders must stay on top of crime in their area, identify trends and devise effective tactics to deal with them.  The Police Executive must be fully engaged and ensure the resource is used as intended.

The executive of the Winnipeg Police Service does not appear to understand or appreciate the capabilities of Crimestat and that could explain why they have largely turned their backs on it.  A key aspect of the Crimestat process centers on  accountability.  The Executive needs to hold Division Commanders accountable. Accountability is exercised most visibly during Crimestat meetings.  That cannot happen if the Executive does not attend Crimestat meetings.   Residents of Winnipeg have a vested interest in the overall safety of all neighbourhoods.

Winnipeggers need Crimestat to work.

Crimestat 2009 Wrap Up

Crimestat Numbers – 2009 Wrap Up↑ 

In July of 2009 the Winnipeg Police Service Crimestat site showed a year to date reduction of 18% for the crime categories tracked by Crimestat compared to the same period in 2008. 

That number has now slipped to 11%. 

As indicated in the original post the overall reduction in crime numbers is driven by a decrease in the number of actual and attempted auto thefts.    

When the auto theft numbers were removed from the equation, the July numbers showed an overall increase of 6% in the other crime categories being tracked.  By year end that  number has now doubled to 12%.     

The upward trend is still driven by an increase in the number of residential break-ins (+11% January to July, +20 % January to December) and non-commercial robberies (+38% January to July, +38% January to December).  

Those percentages don’t really drive home the reality which is:  in 2009, 487 more people had their houses broken into.  As well, 409 more people in Winnipeg were mugged in 2009 than in 2008. 

This leads to the inevitable question:  why?  Setting aside auto theft and attempts, why are crimes in 6 of the 8 other categories of crime tracked by Crimestat higher in 2009 than in 2008?  Is Crimestat a flawed system? Is it an approach that works in other cities but not in Winnipeg?  Are the tried and true principles first introduced by William Bratton and his team in New York City in the mid -1990’s no longer relevant?  

A subsequent post will review the 4 principles that form the basis of the Crimestat approach and attempt to answer these questions and, in particular, the question, Is Crimestat broken?