Saskatchewan

Regina police dealing with 'substantial' increase in gun-related crime

Regina police are grappling with a significant increase in shootings in the city this year, with drug trafficking one of the factors.

13 attempted murder cases this year have been shootings, police chief says

The increased presence of crystal meth in Regina has been a factor in the increase in gun violence, acting Regina Chief Dean Rae says. (CBC News)

Regina police are grappling with a significant increase in shootings in the city this year, with drug trafficking one of the factors.

Not only are there more shootings, but officers are also being kept busy with gun thefts and seizures of guns, too.

This year, there has been a shooting in a crowded restaurant, reports of gunfire from one car directed at another car, and a variety of drug seizures where firearms were found. 

I would say we have a firearm-related event two to three times a week now.- acting police Chief Dean Rae

"Yes, we've seen a fairly substantial increase in gun-related crimes," acting police Chief Dean Rae said.

According to Rae, more trafficking in the highly addictive street drug methamphetamine is partly to blame.

"What we're seeing today, in the community, is, with the increase in crystal meth in our community we're seeing, many more firearms-related calls that are occurring almost on a regular basis," Rae said.

"I would say we have a firearm-related event two to three times a week now."

This year, of the 20 attempted murders investigated, 13 of them involved the victims being shot, he said.

Last year, there were only four attempted murders by this date, he said.

"Currently, we're trending about 400 per cent more than last year," he said.

While that statistic is unsettling, it's still a relatively small number of attempted murders and there have been people charged in 12 out of the 20 crimes, he said.

The firearms involved include both long guns (rifles and shotguns) and handguns.

While it appears the long guns are being stolen from homes and vehicles, it's believed criminals are bringing in handguns from outside the city, Rae said.

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