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Calling on elected officials to fight crime with common sense


Kevin Klein calls on elected officials to fight crime with common sense.
Kevin Klein - Let's fight crime with common sense

Happy New Year to all. Sad to say, Winnipeg brought in the new year with more unwelcomed violence. At 1:30am on New Year’s day a bystander was randomly shot at a downtown Winnipeg lounge. From my understanding, the first shooting in Winnipeg of 2024 was just over an hour into the new year. Apparently, an altercation between two groups had taken place and this resulted in a bullet ricocheting into a bystander. Thankfully, they were taken to the hospital and, from the most recent update, are in stable condition.


With a new year upon us, Manitoba and Winnipeg need to have a serious discussion about crime. According to the Crime Severity Index in Canada, Winnipeg had more violent crime in 2022 than any other city in Canada, with a population of 100k. That crime rate was a 20 percent increase from 2021, and judging from the crime headlines last year, we can see that it has only gotten worse. Many people are trying to live up to their resolutions in the first few weeks of January. It’s always a challenge, a new year, a new you, with new habits! If it isn’t too bold of me and not too late, I propose a New Year's resolution for Manitoba. How about a new Manitoba with no violent crime?! Is it too much to ask for Winnipeg to not have the second highest per capita murder rate in Canada? Is it too much to ask that bystanders shouldn’t fear being randomly shot in downtown Winnipeg? I don’t think so. I think we just need a common-sense approach to managing the problem.


The catch and release bail system that the NDP-Liberal government hasn’t completely overturned should be the first step in fixing the issue. We can’t continually see the same violent criminals plaguing our streets get caught, charged, and then released to simply recommit. We can't allow crime and disorder to be normalized. When this happens, it becomes “OK” to commit crime in the eyes of criminals because there are no consequences. If it is OK to break the law a little and not get in trouble, why not a lot more? This is how we end up with high crime rates and repeat offenders. Catch and release - is that a deterrent for criminals to breaking the law? Is that fair to the victims of countless crimes? The answer - we must not normalize violence in our streets. We must reform the criminal justice and bail system.


We must also give our police more resources. When I was a mayoral candidate for Winnipeg I proposed a number of policies to get tough on crime and help police do their difficult work.


That included the idea of talking to the provincial government about putting sheriffs in Winnipeg hospitals in order to free up police resources. Right now, police officers are tied up at hospitals when they have to wait with perpetrators in custody who need treatment, leading to longer response times for people reporting crime. Putting sheriffs in the hospital will also create a safer environment. I also pushed for more police boots on the ground. Everyone with a gun and a badge should be on the street and be utilized to maximum effect. That's how we start to address crime prevention. These are just some of the bold ideas necessary to stop the normalization of crime.


So let’s be bold and smart this year. I propose a New Year’s resolution for Manitoba - a new Manitoba with no violent crime. Let’s bring some common sense to criminal enforcement.


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