Oxford worst-hit street in River Heights crime wave

A CBC analysis reveals that Oxford Street is most frequently targeted by thieves and vandals when it comes to property crime in the River Heights area.

Crowdsourcing of over 150 incidents paints block-by-block picture of property crime in Winnipeg neighbourhood

Vehicles on Oxford Street are most often targeted by vandals and thieves. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

A CBC analysis reveals that Oxford Street is most frequently targeted by thieves and vandals when it comes to property crime in the River Heights area.

Following a request posted on the "River Heights Smashed Windows Club" Facebook group, the CBC was able to compile a detailed list of over 150 unique cases of property crime submitted by affected residents. Requests for detailed crime statistics originally sent to the Winnipeg Police and Manitoba Public Insurance were denied.

The data revealed that the most often-hit block is on Oxford Street between Coydon Avenue and Fleet Avenue. These findings didn't surprise Jon Waldman, one of the Facebook group administrators, who lives on the worst hit block. His car windows have been smashed three times since February.

"Oxford is one of the first streets when you enter River Heights," said Waldman. "Assuming the thieves are from outside the neighbourhood, that would be one of the very first stops."

Top 3 most hit streets:

  1. Oxford between Corydon and Fleet: 12
  2. Ash between Grosvenor and Corydon: 11
  3. Cordova between Kingsway and Grosvenor: 11

Resident-submitted incidents by block

The data also showed that in nearly 75 per cent of cases, the thieves roamed the backlanes, rather than streets. A breakdown by neighbourhood within the area revealed that North River Heights is hit hardest by the crime wave.

Jon Waldman believes that the homes further to the south and west tend to be more modern and therefore more likely to have a two-car garage.

"I have no doubt that resdients with an attached two-car garage are less hit than those in the older parts that rely more on on-street parking," he said.

Number of incidents by neighbourhood

Many residents who participated in the crowdsourcing exercise told the CBC they no longer lock their car doors in an effort to avoid having to pay up to a $400 deductible each time someone breaks into their cars. MPI said choosing to not lock doors has no impact on coverage.

"Keep in mind, however, if the vehicle is not damaged [MPI will not be involved]. If personal items are stolen, the vehicle owner will likely call their home insurer," said MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley.
Oxford Street backlanes are the most frequently hit areas in River Heights, according to resident-submitted crime incidents. (Jacques Marcoux)

Another active member of the Broken Windows Club says these figures do prove the crime wave is affecting all areas of River Heights, but feels it's just the tip of the iceberg.
Jon Waldman has had three car break-ins since last February. (Jacques Marcoux/CBC)

"I know personally for a fact that many more on my street were hit and didn't submit their incidents. The morning my car was targetted, at least five other neighbours had broken windows," said Salin Guttormsson.

The true scale of the problem is not fully known by residents, as the police service's CrimeStat website does not track the type of property crime that is wreaking havoc on River Heights residents.

Winnipeg police are holding a public forum Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Corydon Community Centre to hear concerns and provide an update on Project Comet, a crime prevention blitz launched in 2014.


Jacques Marcoux

Data journalist

Jacques Marcoux is a former CBC News investigative reporter specializing in data analysis. He continues to contribute to CBC News.


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