If there is one record that no city wants to break, it is the amount of homicides seen on their streets every year. For the first time since 2011, Winnipeg is on track to break their homicide record, with the number of homicides in the city by June 2019 already more than the total for the whole year of 2018.
Winnipeg, Manitoba’s capital, had 22 murders throughout the whole year of 2018. The figure for 2019 so far is already higher, with 24 registered homicides in the city already this year. The spike is significant as three people were killed in less than a week at the beginning of this month.
The highest amount of homicides on record in Winnipeg was in 2011, when a record-number of 41 people were murdered in the city. Members of the community are asking whether the increase in these deaths is related to methamphetamine, with at least six of the 2019 homicides already directly linked to the drug.
According to reports from Global News, Winnipeg Police Station have been unable to confirm that methamphetamine is to blame for the significant shift in figures. Constable Jay Murray noted there has not been a clear common denominator between the deaths. “They’re all very different in their own regards,” he said.
Despite this, the Mayor of Winnipeg, Brian Bowman, said that the as drug use continues to expand in the city “it is affecting property crimes and we know it’s affecting violent crimes and homicides.” The increase in homicides and other major violent crime is also taking its toll on police officers, who have worked over 9,000 hours of over-time.
Winnipeg is not the only city who has seen a spike in homicide figures in recent years. Only last year, Toronto surpassed its highest number of murders since 1991, when 89 people were killed over the course of the year. By December 28, 2018, there had been 96 homicides in Canada’s biggest city.
In Toronto, local authorities suggested that gang activity was to blame, and dedicated $25 million to the city’s police service and court system in an attempt to take back control of the city.