Saskatchewan

Regina gun theft of 'great concern' for community safety advocate

Shawna Oochoo, co-founder of White Pony Lodge, says she's concerned by the theft of a dozen guns in Regina.

'We've seen more shootings within the community,' says Shawna Oochoo

Shawna Oochoo, co-founder of White Pony Lodge, worries about the increase in gun crime in her community. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

The theft of a dozen guns in Regina has a safety advocate in the city worried.

Police are investigating a burglary of 12 long guns from Regina's Pawn King store over the weekend. 

"We already have a lot of gun-related violence occurring within the community. Are we going to start seeing more?" wondered Shawna Oochoo, the co-founder of White Pony Lodge, a group that patrols the city's North Central neighbourhood. 

"It's definitely a great concern, not only for myself but also for the community as well."   

Gun crime on the rise

In 2016, there was a 94 per cent increase in violent gun offences over the five-year average.

"In the past couple months, we've seen more gun-related crimes. We've seen more shootings within the community," Oochoo said.

Some of the guns for sale at Pawn King in Regina as of Feb. 16, 2017. (CBC)

In response, Regina police ran a gun amnesty earlier this month, taking 157 unwanted guns from owners.

Fifty-five firearms were reported stolen last year: that is 20 more than the previous year. But police say those numbers probably do not tell the whole story because some people may not report a stolen gun.

Plus, Regina police seized 343 guns in 2016, a 30 per cent increase from 2015.

now