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%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 866-840-5837 Part II

On Monday December 22nd 2014 some 20 months after creating the Fraud and Waste Hotline the City of Winnipeg Published the following communique:

 

 

For Immediate Release

Monday, December 22, 2014

 

Fraud & Waste Hotline

 

Recognize it. Report it.

 

Winnipeg, MB – The City of Winnipeg’s webpage has been updated to provide information and access to the Fraud & Waste Hotline. The Hotline is available to all citizens as a convenient and confidential way to report any observed or suspected fraud, theft or misuse involving City resources. Reports should be about a specific incident and should, to the extent possible, include the – “who, what, when and where.”

 

The Fraud & Waste Hotline is operated by an independent third party under contract with the Audit Department and is accessible by phone or internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To report an incident of suspected fraud or other inappropriate activity, please visit the Fraud & Waste Hotline online at clearviewconnects.com or by telephone at 1-866-840-5837. Information in reports can only be accessed by the Audit Department.

 

Additional information is available at City of Winnipeg – Audit Department.

 

There is no indication at this point that the City has taken any steps to internally publish the other Hotline number,  1 877-319-5186, which is intended for use by civic employees.

Although the City should be applauded for finally doing the right thing in terms of informing the public about the Fraud and Waste Hotline, they now need to address the other half of the equation which is to provide education and training to civic employees in terms of what constitutes fraud and waste.  As well, they need to  ensure that everyone understands that  as employees they are under an obligation to report matters that are contrary to the best interests of the City.

Lastly, the City needs to introduce meaningful protection for employees who in good faith bring to the attention of the City for the purposes of investigation any instances of fraud or waste.  Internal reporting of wrongdoing is a very difficult scenario and unless guarantees of protection exist employees will not come forward with such information.

If the City is serious about addressing the issue of fraud and waste it needs to enact whistle blower legislation to protect employees who come forward and report instances of fraud and waste.  The half hearted approach outlined in Administrative Directive HR 008 is grossly inadequate and sends the wrong message to employees.  

1 866-840-5837

waste abuse fraud

A very significant number that Winnipeg 311 is still not aware of

Yesterday I wrote a post about a couple of witnesses that apparently have come forward (according to media reports), to police with information about possible corruption at City Hall, the Civic Service or both.

That  post prompted one of my readers to send me an email about an incident involving the City that he felt was inappropriate  in terms of the bidding process.  In his mind it was at the very least wasteful.  This prompted him to ask the question:

“Who do I tell ???? Not like there is anyone willing to listen.”

That brought to mind a previous post I wrote about the City of Winnipeg Fraud and Waste Hotline.

Thinking that the Fraud and Waste Hotline might be a good point of contact for my reader I called Winnipeg 311 and asked for the phone number for the City of Winnipeg Fraud and Waste Hotline.  The long and the short of this inquiry was that the result I got was the same as that obtained by the Free Press when they made the same inquiry in September of this year.  311 was not aware of the existence of such a hotline and as a consequence did not have the phone number.

What should one conclude from the fact that even after the Free Press made the same inquiry some 3 months ago and exposed the fact that 311 did not have available vital information that the public is entitled to and that after the passage of three months no steps have been taken to address that issue?  I suppose there are a number of inferences that could be drawn.  The first is that 311 supervisors and managerial staff are either incompetent or don’t care.  Surely if they were competent or cared they would have taken some action after the embarrassment caused by the aforementioned Free Press article.  The second inference is that 311 staff and management do care and want to do the right thing (which is the sense I got when I called them today) but are being stifled or muzzled by the administration in terms of the information they have available to them and that they are allowed to give out to the public.  This second scenario, were it the case, would be of greater concern than the first.

No wonder the uptake by civic employees and members of the public has been so low in terms of calls to the hotline.  Most don’t know about its existence and those that do are not familiar with the contact information.

People cannot call a hotline when the very existence of such a hotline is suppressed and the contact information is not available to civic employees or the public.

I urge everyone to contact our new mayor and their respective members of council and ask them to do the right thing.  If we are serious about fraud and waste at City Hall there needs to be both an internal and external education program in terms of what constitutes fraud and waste.  As well, the process to bring such information forward must be clearly outlined and the contact information must be readily available.

So let’s start down that road.  The City of Winnipeg has entered into an agreement with a company call Clearview Connects, a third party confidential reporting service that will receive and document  information about possible fraud or waste as it relates to the City of Winnipeg.  Reports can be made both through the internet at Clearview Connects or via telephone.  The telephone numbers are:

Civic Employees                     1 877-319-5186

Members of the Public          1 866-840-5837

 

 

The Disgraced Mayors Serving Set

“Essential for every shameful occasion”
Disgraced Mayors

Last year Rick Mercer unveiled the Disgraced Mayors Serving Set.

It  featured former London Mayor Joe Fontana, former Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay,  former Laval Mayor Gilles Vaillancourt,  and Toronto’s disgraced but still serving mayor, Rob Ford.

At that time Mayor Sam Katz received only an honorable mention as a “soon to be disgraced mayor”.

I think we should all contact  Mr. Mercer and urge him to reconsider his rankings for the next,  Disgraced Mayor Serving Set.

We should demand that our mayor’s status be elevated from ‘soon to be disgraced’ to ‘disgraced’.

I think he has earned it.

 

*Update    Sam Katz did not stand for reelection in the fall of 2014

A Sinking Ship, A $10.00 House and Phil Sheegle

Councillors Leave EPC

In the last year 1 councilor abandoned his position on EPC and now another 2 have announced their intention to leave.  That brings to mind the following one liner:  I’ve never seen this number of rats jumping off a ship unless it was sinking or on fire”.

Mayor’s house purchase in Arizona

Re Mayor Katz’s purchase  of a house in Scottsdale Arizona for 10 dollars and ‘other valuation consideration’.  Until such time as the Mayor explains what that other valuable consideration was we should not conclude that it did not involve Shindico.

Phil Sheegl’s qualifications to be CAO

Back when Phil Sheegl was named CAO the Mayor made the following comment when Sheegl’s qualifications were questioned by Councillor Jenny Gerbasi.

“When it comes to ability, intelligence and integrity, Coun. Gerbasi wouldn’t even qualify to be in the same building, let alone the same room, as Phil Sheegl”.

Well, they are no longer in the same room or  even the same building.  Councillor Gerbasi is still in the same room (council chamber) in the same building (city hall) but Phil Sheegl is long gone, having decided to leave the building first.  Last laugh definitely goes to Councillor Gerbasi.    As one of my high school teachers used to say ‘he who laughs last laughs best’.

A Dangerous Convergence of Power and Authority

images

Who will be the next Mini Me?

The Ernst and Young audit report on the fire halls fiasco has finally seen the light of day.  It doesn’t look pretty and it emanates a distinctly unpleasant odor, an odor of rot festering in the political and administrative bowels of power at City Hall.

The report outlines a number of concerns that deal with administrative process and oversight but the most concerning issues identified (albeit process-related) strike at the very heart of the free enterprise system as well as citizen and business trust.

The city is not in a position to perform much of the work on projects it finances and thus hires contractors to perform those tasks.  That process of hiring such contractors must be fair and equitable and put all bidders on an equal footing.

At the core of many municipal corruption scandals is the bypassing of such processes.  Some bidders are given, or gain an unfair advantage by having access to confidential information not available to other bidders.  According to the Ernst and Young report Shindico had such an advantage in the case at hand.

In most cases where one party gains an unfair advantage they will realize an increase in profits and reciprocate with some form of quid pro quo.   Usually, when what amounts to industrial intelligence flows one way, kickbacks flow the other way.  The Charbonneau Commission in Quebec emphasizes that point.  The Ernst and Young report does not suggest there were any kickbacks in the fire halls fiasco.

Determination of whether there was any guid pro quo goes beyond the scope of an audit and would require an in-depth criminal investigation or a Commission of Inquiry.   It would be highly unusual for any of the principals at the heart of an audit to come out and make a ‘mea culpa’ declaration.

What is Power?

Power is the ability to influence the actions of others.  An example of the exercise of power could be a municipal mayor (Sam) who, when selecting a CAO, prevailing on the other members of the selection committee (EPC) to select the candidate of his choice.  In such an instance the mayor does not have the authority to order members of EPC to take a particular position, but he,  none the less has power as he controls appointments to the committee.

What is Authority?

Authority is the legal right to act.  In the case at hand the CAO is given legal authority to undertake a wide variety of actions on behalf of the City under guidelines laid down by Council.

Concentration of Power and Authority

When Phil Sheegle was appointed CAO the Mayor bristled at the suggestion he was not qualified to perform the function.   The Ernst and Young report suggests the mayor’s detractors were spot on.  As well the mayor would have us believe that he and the former CAO, although they are close friends do not have discussions about city related issues like the fire hall fiasco and the related land swaps.  Do these two buddies look like they hold much back from each other?

Sam and Phil

It is clear that when the mayor appoints a ‘mini me’ CAO there is a dangerous convergence of power and authority.  It puts the mayor in the position wielding political power, as well as administrative authority by proxy.

The Next Mini Me

The mayor has already indicated that his choice to fill the CAO’s chair in an acting capacity is Deepak Joshi – yes the same Deepak Joshi named in the Ernst and Young Report.  One would have hoped that the members of EPC would have learned from the last appointment that the mayor’s choice may not be the best choice.  We cannot afford another mini me CAO.

What’s to be done?

It’s time that Winnipegers wake up to the realization that Mayor Katz may actually have been truthful when he said that he was a businessman and not a politician.  The problem may be that he views the City of Winnipeg as his business, his own little fiefdom, putting in place cronies to help him run ‘his business’.  That begs the question, to whose benefit is the city being run, the citizens’ benefit or the mayor’s benefit?  To a degree we are all responsible for what is happening at City Hall:  we elected Sam Katz, not once but several times.  It may be time for like-minded people to get together and initiate a movement under the banner “ANYONE BUT SAM” and clean up the mess at City Hall.

 

A Helicopter for the Winnipeg Police Part – V

Several years ago the Winnipeg Police Service (read Mayor Katz) decided that Winnipeg needed (read wanted) a helicopter.  At that time  I wrote a series of posts commenting on the decision-making process employed to determine whether the police service should acquire a helicopter,  as well as the nuts and bolts of running a flight operations unit.

Links to the previous posts are listed here:

A Helicopter for the Winnipeg Police – Part I

A Helicopter for the Winnipeg Police – Part II

A Helicopter for the Winnipeg Police Part – III

A Helicopter for the Winnipeg Police Part – IV

Selling Helicopters Not Naming Rights

Can a Police Helicopter Make Pursuits Safer

The Winnipeg Police Service recently issued the 2012  Flight Operations Unit Annual Report.

It is of some interest to note that the Flight Operations Unit is the only unit within the Police Service that issues an in-depth annual report,  separate and apart from the normal Winnipeg Police Service Annual Report.   Perhaps this is a forerunner of other unit annual reports to come.   I’m being facetious of course.

The only reason the Flight Operations Unit issues a stand alone annual report is to justify the initial capital and subsequent  ongoing operational expenditures of the unit.  The real purpose of the report is to demonstrate that the original decision to purchase a helicopter was a good one.

Although I have not dissected the report in detail I have noticed a number of interesting points.

When the helicopter idea was being ‘sold’ to the public,  politicians and police officials talked about the helicopter being in the air 4 to 5 hours a day.  The 2012 reports shows 2.7 hours of flight time per day.

One of the primary reasons originally cited for acquiring a  helicopter,  was  to deal with Winnipeg’s ongoing problem of auto theft.  A helicopter it was argued would be very beneficial in terms of discouraging auto theft and, in cases where cars had been stolen,  tracking stolen vehicles on the road and assisting in the arrest of auto thieves.

In a previous post I argued that if the Police Service operated a helicopter it would only be available to assist in approximately 12% of stolen car chases.  At the time, some questioned my calculations and subsequent estimate.  Turns out I did indeed miscalculated…. by 2%.     In 2012 the police helicopter was available to assist in a total of 5 pursuits which works out to  just under 14% of the total number of car chases that took place.

And what happened to the promise in terms of the positive effect a helicopter would have on auto theft rates in Winnipeg?  In  the last 12 months auto theft has gone up 10%, this during a period that the Flight Operations Unit was up and running.  This comes on the heels of many years of double-digit declines  thanks to the Auto Theft strategy.

And things are not looking better for 2013.  Although the numbers are still small this early in the  year, the rate of auto theft in Winnipeg climbed 23% so far this year when compared to the same period last year.

Also of interest is the cost per “arrest” in which the helicopter played a role.  Based strictly on the operating budget the Unit spent $1,327,950.00 in 2012.  Based on that figure the cost per arrest that the unit  ‘assisted‘ with  is in the range of $7200.00.  If, however, the capital depreciation cost of the  helicopter is factored in then the cost of operating the unit is more in the range of $ 1, 727,590.00 and the cost per arrest jumps to $9300.00. *

Contrast that with the cost and the results generated by the  Warrant Apprehension Unit.  They also get bad guys off the street – not by ‘assisting’  or being in the vicinity but by actually going out into the street, and doing investigations and apprehensions.  The cost of that unit is in the range of $ .8 million and with an arrest rate of approximately 800 per year, the cost per arrest is in the range of $1000.00, a far cry from $9300.00.

Were an additional $1,727,590.00 allocated to the Warrant Apprehension Unit  at $1000.00 a head they could have arrested an additional 1700 criminals.  That would be a somewhat better return on the dollar than the 285 arrests the Flight Operations Unit  ‘assisted’ with.

*  I’m not suggesting that the number of arrests should be the only criteria used to measure the performance of the Unit.  However,  based on the fact that all but one of the anecdotal examples of Unit activities cited in the report involve arrests,  it is obvious that the Winnipeg Police Service sees this as one of the primary, if not the prime function of the Unit.