Winnipeg police are realigning resources as the city nears a record number of homicides and violent crime this year.
“Our community is reeling, really, and our organization is reeling here,” said police Chief Danny Smyth. “A lot of people just can’t make sense of what’s going on right now in the community.”
Winnipeg has recorded 40 homicides in 2019 — 11 of which have taken place in the past 30 days. Of those, two involved children.
“Much of the increasing demand for emergency services is driven by social problems, including many related to drugs,” police said in a statement.
“This is having an impact on our resources. As a result, adjustments will be made to the major crimes unit, station duty, traffic unit, and the community relations division. This realignment will mean more members in general patrol and investigative units.”
Smyth says the measures are only temporary and police will reassess the situation in early 2020.
Station duty in the district offices will be closed, however, the public can still file police reports in person at the downtown headquarters. Phone and online services will remain available 24/7.
Mayor Brian Bowman and Premier Brian Pallister had separate conversations with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week about the string of violence.
Watch a replay of Friday’s Winnipeg police news conference: