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Politicians talk and talk, what we need is action to address the rising violent crime in Winnipeg

Politicians talk and talk, what we need is action to address the rising violent crime in Winnipeg
Kevin Klein, "we need action to address the rising violent crime in Winnipeg not just words.

In recent times, it seems that society has grown increasingly complacent with violent crime. Has it become the new normal for us to simply shrug our shoulders when we hear about heinous acts committed by individuals out on bail? The deafening silence of elected officials in response to this rising tide of violence is cause for serious concern. It's high time we re-evaluate our priorities and put the victims of crimes first.


It was just recently that violent crime struck the West Winnipeg community when Kyriakos Vogiatzakis, a beloved member of our business community and proprietor of The Cork and Flame restaurant, was brutally killed outside his own establishment on Portage Avenue. A 38-year-old man, who was already wanted on a warrant for breaching bail conditions, was charged with manslaughter and uttering threats in connection to this senseless act.


Elected officials were quick to offer their thoughts, prayers, and expressions of displeasure. Yet, their words fell short of any meaningful commitment to address the growing concerns plaguing our city and province. No concrete action was promised, and no immediate funding was allocated to apprehend individuals with outstanding warrants.


This is not an isolated incident. In August of last year, a 27-year-old man was sentenced to six years in federal prison for the unprovoked stabbing of an 18-year-old server at a northeast Winnipeg Olive Garden restaurant. Once again, elected officials expressed shock and offered well-wishes, but they failed to deliver any tangible actions or commitments to address the surge in violent crimes.


Many people have become disenchanted with the news, dismissing it as too negative or untrustworthy. Instead, they turn to social media, where disinformation thrives, and divisive, slanderous comments prevail. Could this trend indicate that our society has come to accept the rise in violent crimes committed by repeat offenders? I hope not. But, I do believe a growing number of individuals have lost confidence in their elected officials and the systems in place to protect them.


When I was Chair of the Winnipeg Police Board, I had a conversation with a senior citizen who shared a thought-provoking perspective: "You can't re-arrest your way out of crime." This statement underscores the importance of recognizing that people can make mistakes, and not all offenses warrant a criminal record. However, when an individual persists in committing crimes, we must adopt a different approach.


The justice system is undeniably broken in its current state. It's time for a paradigm shift that prioritizes victims' well-being over offenders' rights. We must advocate for a justice system that strikes a balance between rehabilitation and accountability. Offering support and intervention to individuals at risk of reoffending is a step in the right direction, but we must also ensure that repeat offenders face the appropriate consequences.


It is imperative that we hold our elected officials accountable for their promises and demand concrete actions to address the pressing issue of rising violent crime. We must invest in resources to apprehend individuals with outstanding warrants, improve our justice system's efficiency, and provide adequate support to victims and their families.


We cannot afford to remain complacent in the face of violent crime. We must prioritize the victims and work towards a safer, more just society. It's time for our elected officials to break their silence and take meaningful action to protect our communities from the scourge of violent crime. Our collective future depends on it.


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