Crime and violence nab election attention
The summer of 2011 in Winnipeg has been marked by violence attributed to a turf war between a pair of outlaw motorcycle gangs, ensuring that crime will be a key issue in the October election.
Firebombings and shootings targeting businesses and residences have shaken the city since June. Members of the Rock Machine and the Redlined Support Crew, a Hells Angels puppet group, are battling for control of the local drug trade, according to police.
No one has been killed but there have been a couple of incidents in which stray bullets have struck innocent people.
As well, investigators are still looking into whether other incidents in the city have ties to the turf war.
There has been a rash of arsons throughout Winnipeg, prompting police and fire officials, along with local politicians, to hold emergency meetings in some neighbourhoods to help residents reduce the risk of becoming a target.
And a number of brazen shootings have taken place, including one on Aug. 14 in the city's Transcona neighbourhood where a man stood at the edge of a driveway at about 9 p.m. and used a handgun to open fire at people inside a garage.
Three men, aged 26, 29 and 30, were struck by bullets and initially sent to hospital in critical condition. All were later upgraded to stable condition.
While police said the Transcona shooting doesn't appear to be linked to the biker battle, officers were still going around the neighbourhood after the shooting and warning residents of gang activity in the area.
Police have noted that several disputes and shootings over the drug trade this summer didn't involve the Rock Machine or Redlined Support Crew.
There has also been 26 homicides this year in Winnipeg, as of Aug. 22. There were 22 in all of 2010 and 29 in total for 2009.