Blue Line

Manitoba government making downtown Winnipeg streets safer with significant investment

July 6, 2023  By Government of Manitoba

July 6, 2023, Winnipeg, Man. – The Manitoba government is taking action to address unacceptable escalating rates of violent crime in downtown Winnipeg and ensure the safety of its residents. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the government is making a significant investment of over $10 million over two years in downtown Winnipeg safety measures to enhance public safety and foster a secure environment for all those living, working and visiting downtown Winnipeg, Premier Heather Stefanson and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced.

“Manitobans have the right to feel safe in their homes and their communities,” said Stefanson. “With this investment of over $10 million, we are giving front-line police officers the resources they need to make our streets safer. Our government will always defend — not defund — the police.”

The Winnipeg Police Service’s annual statistical report, released on May 30, revealed a concerning 25.6 per cent increase in total crime compared to the previous year and a 17.0 per cent increase over the five-year average, the premier noted. Violent crime specifically rose by 19.2 per cent, with the Violent Crime Severity Index reaching its highest level (207.8) since 2009. Knife-related crimes increased by 11.7 per cent compared to 2021, and the use of bear spray in violent crimes has doubled since 2019. Moreover, youth crime increased by 43.4 per cent over the previous year, although it remains 13.7 per cent below the five-year average.

“We recognize the pressing need to address the concerning trends of rising crime rates in downtown Winnipeg,” said Goertzen. “Included in the record investment of $52 million in funding in the Violent Crime Strategy, this $10 million specifically towards crime and safety initiatives in downtown Winnipeg will enable us to implement with our partners proactive measures and comprehensive programs aimed at creating a safer environment.”


“Downtown Winnipeg is recovering. Safety and security in public spaces is paramount to that recovery. The Winnipeg Police Service has a significant role in the delivery of services that ensures the safety of all who live and work downtown, and those who visit the Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District for leisure and entertainment,” said Chief Danny Smyth, Winnipeg Police Service. “I want to thank the Manitoba government for the opportunity to enhance our partnership with the Downtown Community Safety Partnership. Together we can deliver a more co-ordinated and comprehensive service that ensures the right resources are deployed at the right time.”

The Manitoba Downtown Winnipeg Crime and Safety Package, encompasses several key components:

  • The Manitoba government is providing additional resources to enhance community safety and well-being and collaboration between the Downtown Community Safety Partnership (DCSP) and WPS. This collaboration will involve the deployment of 24 new police officers dedicated to proactive downtown safety measures.
  • Expanded CCTV network and enhanced lighting: To enhance safety measures in the downtown area, the Manitoba government will invest in 75 additional closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Furthermore, enhanced lighting will be installed, aligning with crime prevention by environmental design principles. These efforts aim to create a more secure and well-illuminated environment for downtown residents, workers, and visitors.
  • Centralized community safety office: the Manitoba government will establish a centralized community safety office, which will serve as a hub for crime prevention initiatives. This office will support various programs and activities aimed at fostering a safer and more welcoming downtown environment.
  • Funding for all purpose vehicles for the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) to support proactive responses to incidents in the downtown area. The use of motorized and non-motorized vehicles will enhance the agility and effectiveness of law enforcement officers in addressing safety concerns swiftly.
  • Integrated DSCP/WPS Co-ordinated Assistance Network: The DCSP will utilize security cameras from a centralized space being funded by the Manitoba government that will enable co-ordinated dispatch, foot patrols, and response teams.

Goertzen noted an increase in overall public safety basket funding will also support higher municipal policing costs. This investment builds on the Manitoba government’s response to rising crime rates. As chair of the Council of the Federation, Premier Stefanson has led the charge to demand the federal government reform bail for violent offenders.

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