Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A methamphetamine crisis is behind a major increase in Winnipeg’s property crimes, says the city’s police chief, and it will only worsen if governments continue to fall behind on addiction treatment options.

“There’s no other major city in Canada that is dealing with a meth crisis like we are,” Chief Danny Smyth said Monday after the release of the Winnipeg Police Service’s statistical report for 2018.

The report shows property crime increased by nearly 20 per cent from the previous year and was 44 per cent higher than the five-year average.

Story continues below advertisement

There were spikes in the number of break-in, vehicle theft, fraud and mischief investigations. Violent crime rates also remained high and robberies shot up about 10 per cent.

“I can tell you that we are halfway through 2019 and things are getting worse,” Smyth said.

There have been 25 homicides in Winnipeg so far this year, three more than there were in all of 2018.

There have also been four police-involved shootings, four in-custody deaths and an armed standoff. Smyth said nearly all have involved drugs.

The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba has said meth use has increased by more than 100 per cent in adults and nearly 50 per cent in youth since 2014.

The Bear Clan Patrol, a neighbourhood watch group, picked up 4,000 needles in 2017. That skyrocketed to 40,000 in 2018. The group has already picked up 60,000 needles this year.

Nineteen police officers have been stuck with needles in the last few years, Smyth added.

Story continues below advertisement

A government-commissioned report released in June called for more detox facilities, longer-term treatment programs and a way to safely distribute needles to fight rising meth use.

The number of people in publicly funded addictions programs who reported using meth more than doubled between 2014-15 and 2016-2017, the report said.

Smyth said he understands a comprehensive response to addictions will take time, but safe shelters and detox units could be opened immediately.

“We need some relief sooner than later.”

Addressing crime and addictions cannot rest solely with police, said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman.

He called on the provincial and federal governments to provide funds and resources. A provincial election in September does not mean action should be delayed, Bowman added.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s very difficult to imagine how we can think of Manitoba becoming one of the most improved provinces when Manitoba’s crime rates rank as the worst in Canada.”

The health minister’s office said it had not received a meeting request from the police chief. It pointed to ongoing work to provide funds for more shelter beds and mental-health and addictions supports.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the departments are working co-operatively to share information and implement solutions. There will be further discussions with police, he said.

“There’s no silver bullet to this and it’s going to take a comprehensive approach to address it.”

Statistics Canada also released data on Monday from its Crime Severity Index, which measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime.

The country’s overall crime rate and the severity of crime increased by two per cent from last year, but it is substantially lower than a decade ago.

Story continues below advertisement

Statistics Canada noted that methamphetamine offences increased by 13 per cent and possession of meth had the second-highest incident rate, following only cannabis.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies