Video surveillance, more foot patrols could help downtown Winnipeg safety, report says

By | December 3, 2019

More foot patrols and video surveillance could improve safety in downtown Winnipeg, a provincial police commission report says.

On Tuesday morning, the Manitoba Police Commission presented a study addressing the state of safety in downtown Winnipeg, as requested by the provincial government in September.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen called it a “road map” for a complex problem.

Police commission chair David Asper, Downtown Safety Partnership director of safety initiatives Greg Burnett and True North Sports and Entertainment chair Mark Chipman also spoke at the news conference.

The report includes a list of initial recommendations for ways to improve downtown safety, including considering more foot patrols, exploring the possibility of closed-circuit TV cameras, increasing outdoor lighting and toughening the enforcement of panhandling laws.

The commission recommends exploring Minneapolis’s Downtown Improvement District model, which was a private sector-led initiative.

Earlier this year, the province sent representatives to Minnesota to study that model. Winnipeg’s Downtown Safety Partnership, launched in Winnipeg last month, is taking a similar approach by establishing partnerships between the business community, police and local government, the province says.

The report released Tuesday recommends the creation of a downtown safety communications centre.

It could deal with safety issues that are not crimes and thus could complement what police do, Asper said. 

No Winnipeg Police Service or municipal government representatives were at the news conference, but Cullen said the province and the city are in constant dialogue.