Over 200 residents packed the Corydon Community Centre last night to hear from police officers about their ongoing efforts to reduce property crime in their otherwise idyllic neighbourhood of River Heights. In addition to sharing tips on preventing crime, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) also promised more “boots on the ground” through their ongoing Project Comet initiative to combat the spate of break-ins and acts of vandalism that continue to occur.
Recent data compiled by the CBC reveals North River Heights has been especially hard hit, with as many as 59 incidents reported. And Oxford Street between Corydon and Fleet is the most popular street for these sorts of crimes.
At last night’s town hall, some residents who took to the microphones were exasperated with the way in which Manitoba Public Insurance has responded to the plague upon their community. They were tired of having to pay the deductibles on their multiple insurance claims to have the smashed-out windows of their cars repaired. Others simply wanted to know what sort of techniques–finger-printing, DNA samples, video surveillance–the WPS was using to bring an end to the veritable crime wave. A Facebook group, the Smashed Windows Club, received a shout-out from the WPS for the work it has been doing to mobilize members of this devastated community.
Police officers reassured residents Project Comet was working: since it was launched last year, they have made 26 arrests. Still, they cautioned residents to remain vigilant; lock doors, install an alarm system, report suspicious behaviour.
At a press conference on Tuesday, when speaking about the scheduled meeting, one officer stressed, “Nobody in the city, but especially in River Heights, should feel abandoned by the police.” And so last night, police officers did their level best to reassure those especially in River Heights they hadn’t been abandoned. Nevertheless, the nightmare continues.