Manitoba

Winnipeg crime rate 23.9% lower than 5-year average, say police

While a police report released Wednesday says crime in Winnipeg in 2014 was 23.9 per cent lower than the five-year average, and comparable to rates in 2013, a few individual crime statistics also rose — some quite significantly.

Cumulative 2014 crime totals similar to those in 2013

Winnipeg police released a report Wednesday that shows a drop of nearly 24 per cent in overall crime incidents in the city compared to the five-year average. (CBC)

While a police report released Wednesday says crime in Winnipeg in 2014 was 23.9 per cent lower than the five-year average, and comparable to rates in 2013 (it rose by 0.9 per cent), a few individual crime statistics also rose — some quite significantly.

Violent crimes were 2.5 per cent lower in 2014 than in 2013 and 24 per cent lower than the five-year average. There were 25 homicides in both 2013 and 2014, respectively. Police said there was an overall decrease in homicides of 17.2 per cent when compared to the five-year average (30.2 per year) — a modest victory for a city that carried the "murder capital of Canada" label for no less than five of the last 10 years.

Abductions up 150%

"Level 3" aggravated sexual assault or abductions were 200 per cent and 150 per cent higher than figures from 2013. But those data points need to be taken with a grain of salt. 

Police said that because crimes of that nature are relatively uncommon, even slight shifts in the number of incidents can dramatically alter overall percentages. For instance, the police said there were two abductions in 2013 and five in 2014, resulting in a 150 per cent increase from year to year.

Aggravated sex assault up 200%

The same can be said for the rate of "Level 3" aggravated sexual assault. Though it rose by 200 per cent from 2013, there were a total of three such recorded cases in 2014 versus the single case in 2013. Regardless, rates rose by 25 per cent in 2014 when compared against the five-year average.

As for "Level 2" sexual assault (with a weapon), it dipped by 57.9 per cent between 2013 and 2014. There were 19 incidents in 2013 and eight in 2014.

"Level 1" sexual assault rates rose by 3.3 per cent compared to 2013, but dropped by 17.3 per cent compared to the five-year average. There were 522 such incidents in 2013 and 539 in 2014.

Robbery down

Robberies were down 12.1 per cent from 2013 and 35.9 per cent lower than the five-year average. And while the rate of drug-related crimes was more or less the same in 2014 and 2013, they were also 11.9 per cent lower than the five-year average.

Property crimes in 2014, too, were considerably lower when compared to the five-year average. They dropped by 27.2 per cent (though they rose by 3.7 per cent between 2013 and 2014).

Possession of stolen property up 64.1%

One statistic in particular rose significantly on both a percentage and absolute number basis. Most notably, the "Possess Stolen Property" category was up 64.1 per cent in 2014 from 2013. It was also 63 per cent higher than the five-year average. There were 325 such incidents in 2014 and 198 in 2013.

The "other" category of criminal code crimes, which accounts for a variety of different incidents, dropped by 8.1 per cent in 2014 and was 6.4 per cent lower than the five-year average. 

And the "other" criminal code offences category increased by 10.4 per cent between 2013-2014. Police said five-year averages aren't available for this variable due to a criminal code reclassification in 2012.

Police said an increase in online reporting of incidents in 2014 may have affected individual and overall crime rate records. Regardless, the report said the overall crime totals remain relatively the same as those in 2013.

The Winnipeg police board is set to meet on Saturday to discuss the report.

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