Law, government, and crime in Winnipeg

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Winnipeg City Council
Mayor Brian Bowman
River Heights-Fort Garry John Orlikow
Charleswood-Tuxedo Paula Havixbeck
St. Charles Grant Nordman
St. James-Brooklands Scott Fielding
Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry Jenny Gerbasi
North Kildonan Jeff Browaty
St. Boniface Dan Vandal
Old Kildonan Devi Sharma
Point Douglas Mike Pagtakhan
Daniel McIntyre Harvey Smith
St. Vital Gord Steeves
St. Norbert Justin Swandel
Elmwood-East Kildonan Thomas Steen
Transcona Russ Wyatt
Winnipeg City Hall

The municipal government of Winnipeg is represented by 15 city councillors and a mayor elected every four years. On July 27, 1971, the City of Winnipeg absorbed the R. M. of Charleswood, the R. M. of Fort Garry, the R. M. of North Kildonan, the R. M. of Old Kildonan, the Town of Tuxedo, the City of East Kildonan, the City of West Kildonan, the City of St. Vital, the City of Transcona, the City of St. Boniface, the City of St. James-Assiniboia, the old City of Winnipeg and Metropolitan Corporation of Greater Winnipeg were amalgamated to create a unicity.

The first election for the newly combined city was held on October 6, 1971. The City Council consisted of 50 councillors and one mayor. The councillors were elected on the basis of one councillor per city ward while the mayor was elected by the city-at-large. The term of office was three years. The inaugural meeting of the new council took place on January 4, 1972.

Since 50 councillors proved too unwieldy the city wards were reduced to 29 in 1977. In 1992 the city wards were reduced even further to the present 15 and city councillors became full-time politicians.

On June 22, 2004, Sam Katz was elected as the first Jewish mayor of Winnipeg. He beat out prominent politicians Dan Vandal, Al Golden, and MaryAnn Mihychuk for the job by receiving 42.51% of the vote. This came after the resignation of Glen Murray as mayor of Winnipeg to run in the 2004 federal election.

Katz was re-elected to a second term in the 2006 elections on October 25, 2006. After promising in his first election to run for only two terms, Katz ran for a third term in 2010. He was re-elected in the 2010 elections. Brian Bowman, the City's first Aboriginal Mayor, was elected as the 43rd Mayor of the City of Winnipeg in a landslide victory on October 22nd, 2014.

Winnipeg is represented in the House of Commons of Canada by eight Members of Parliament. As of 2016, seven are from the Liberal Party of Canada, and one is from the New Democratic Party.


Starting in 1900, in both provincial and federal elections, central Winnipeg elected politicians from the Labour Party. Winnipeg was the site of a general strike from May 15 to June 28, 1919. There were violent protests during this strikes, several deaths at the hands of the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, and the arrest of many of Winnipeg's future politicians. Though it was not chartered until 1932, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation was born not only out of the depression but also out of the labour unrest of 1919. Its successor, the New Democratic Party, has enjoyed much support in Winnipeg since the early 1960s. Winnipeg's longest-serving Members of Parliament include J.S. Woodsworth (21 years), Stanley Knowles (38 years), David Orlikow (25 years), Bill Blaikie (almost 27 years and re-elected in the 2006 federal election), and Lloyd Axworthy (21 years).

Aside from being the provincial capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg has served as the capital for two other Canadian territories: the Northwest Territories from 1870 to 1876 and the District of Keewatin from 1876 to 1905.

Crime and Police[edit]

Violent crime[edit]

This map shows each robbery in Winnipeg specific to neighbourhood in 2012. There were 1,811 robberies - one dot is one robbery. This picture shows how concentrated the violent crime in Winnipeg is.

Winnipeg has long been one of Canada's most violent cities. From 1981 to 2012, Winnipeg has been the "murder capital" 16 times, of every Canadian Metropolitan Area,[1][2] which is 51.6% of the time. From 2007 to 2012, Winnipeg was the murder capital every year. Over a similar time period, Winnipeg has consistently had the highest rates of robbery, sexual assault, and violent crime index of any large Canadian city. Winnipeg has had the highest violent crime index since 2009, where it was more than double the Canadian average (187.0 compared to 93.7), as well as in 2011 (173.8 to 85.3), although the rate has been lowering. For example, in 2009 the rate was 187.0, where in 2012 it was down to 145.4, which is still 20 points higher than the second-place city, Saskatoon. In 2011, when Winnipeg's homicide rate peaked, 41 homicides were recorded,[3] for a rate of 6.2 per 100,000 residents. There were an additional 4 unlawful deaths, which would bring the rate to 6.8. This rate was around 4 times higher than the national rate at 1.7 per 100,000 people.[4] The next year, there were 30 known homicides in Winnipeg for a rate of 4.5 per 100,000 residents, with an addition 3 unlawful deaths equating to a rate of 5.0. Again, a few times higher than the national rate at 1.6. The robbery rate in 2012 was between 250.1 and 272.9, as the annual crime report and CrimeStat[5] had different numbers. The annual crime report, reported 1,660 robberies, where as CrimeStat reported 1,811. Regardless, the rate is several times higher than the national average at 79.4.[6] Winnipeg's robbery rate peaked at 346.7 in 2009, the much lower robbery rate in 2012 of course shows a decrease in this violent crime.[7]

Even though Winnipeg experiences high rates of violent crime, the city has witnessed a general decreasing trend in the frequency of these crimes. For example, the assault rate has dropped every year since 2009 from 953.4 per 100,000 residents to 810.9 in 2012.[8] Although this rate is still not as low as the number recorded in 2007 (781.1), it is substantially lower than the years of 1996 to 2002 when the average rate was 1049.8 per 100,000 residents. The robbery and sexual assault rates are also lower than they were back in 2009. The only rate that has increased, is the homicide rate.

The red area is the geographic location of the neighborhoods; South Point Douglas, Logan - C.P.R., Lord Selkirk Park, South Portage, Portage - Ellice, Dufferin Industrial, Spence, Central Park, St. John's Park, William Whyte, West Alexander, North Point Douglas, Centennial, Colony, China Town, Dufferin, Daniel Mcintyre, St. John's, Portage & Main and West Broadway.

The concentration of crime in Winnipeg[edit]

Despite high overall violent crime rates compared to other Canadian cities, crime in Winnipeg is very concentrated. For example, 80 of 234 neighbourhoods had not one robbery in 2012,[9] and 32 others only had one robbery. But there were 25 neighbourhoods (about 10% of neighbourhoods) that had higher robbery rates than the highest robbery rate in Toronto (Bay Street Corridor; 640 per 100,000 residents),[10][11] such as Lord Selkirk Park with a rate of 4,395.6. These neighbourhoods also have a high native population,[12] or South Portage at 4,139.8. The two highest rankings are South Point Douglas (11,304.3) and Logan-C.P.R. (6,333.3) but both have lower populations under 1,000 residents. Lord Selkirk Park and South Portage compare to some of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the United States of America,[13] however no ranking is 100% certain as Canada and the USA have different classifications for crimes, (robbery is one though that both countries use the same), and there is also no recorded assault rates for Winnipeg neighbourhoods.

The 20 neighborhoods in Winnipeg with the highest robbery rates, all have boundaries which connect to each other;[5][9][14] South Point Douglas, Logan - C.P.R., Lord Selkirk Park, South Portage, Portage - Ellice, Dufferin Industrial, Spence, Central Park, St. John's Park, William Whyte, West Alexander, North Point Douglas, Centennial, Colony, China Town, Dufferin, Daniel Mcintyre, St. John's, Portage & Main and West Broadway; which in 2006 had a cumulative population of 54,255.[15] In 2012, with 918 robberies (1692.9 per 100,000 people),[5] this geographical cluster is where crime the majority of violent crime happens in Winnipeg - 918 of the 1,812 (50.7%) robberies in the city, occurred in this area, where only 8.7% of the cities total population lives.[9][15] From 2009 to 2013, 95 of the 145 (65.5%) homicides in Winnipeg occurred in this smaller portion of the city,[16] creating an average homicide rate of 35.0 per 100,000 residents, peaking at 57.1 in 2011. If we subtract these areas from the city, the homicide rate average in Winnipeg is substantially lower at 1.8 per 100,000 people, and the robbery rate in the city is over 1,000% lower at 156.7.

To put these numbers into perspective, this area of the city has crime rates higher than some of the most notorious places in the United States, which have similar and comparable populations (50,000 to 99,999). For example, Compton, CA (98,057) has a population almost double the size of this area, but this area had more than double the amount of robberies Compton had (428) in 2012, creating a robbery rate almost 4 times higher than Compton's (436.5).[17] The 2012 homicide rate in Compton (21.4) was also lower than the average homicide rate in this area of Winnipeg through the years 2008-2012. Wilmington, DE (72,088) reported 474 robberies in 2012, creating a rate of 657.5 per 100,000, meaning the robbery rate of this area of Winnipeg is more than 2.5 times higher. The homicide rates are very similar, Wilmington recorded a homicide rate of 36.1 per 100,000 people, which is slightly higher than this area of Winnipeg's average (35.0). The very notorious Camden, NJ had a homicide rate much higher than this area of Winnipeg's, more than doubled (86.3), but the number of robberies in Camden was 755 creating a rate of 972.1 in the year of 2012, meaning the robbery rate of this area of Winnipeg's is almost 2 times higher.[17]

Property crime[edit]

This graph shows the trends for Winnipeg's property crime.

Property crime in Winnipeg has dropped immensely over the years. From the early 1990s to mid-2000s, Winnipeg had a huge auto-theft problem, where the rate peaked at 2,165.0 per 100,000 residents, in 2006.[7] For a comparison, the 2006 rate in Canada was 4.5 times lower, at 487 auto-thefts per 100,000 residents.[18] From 2000 to 2007, the rate only dipped below 1,500.0, one time, very slightly, in 2002 at 1,497.8. These rates were by far the highest in the country. Because of these insanely high rates, Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), to combat auto theft, established financial incentives for motor vehicle owners to install ignition immobilisers in their vehicles. It now requires owners of high-risk vehicles to install immobilisers.[19] This has proven to be successful as the auto-theft rate has been on a constant drop since 2006 (in total a 562.1% drop). In 2008 the rate was 1,059.6, in 2009; 692.7, 2010; 555.8, 2011; 341.5 and in 2012 the rate was 327.0. Other than motor theft, other property crimes have been dropping as well. Regarding the latest statistics year (2012), the theft rate has dropped every year since 2003, the break & enter rate has been going down since 1991, although not on a constant slope, but a bumpy downhill ride, and the mischief rate has gone down every year since 2005. However the arson rate seems to be on a trend upwards from 2007.[20]

But compared to national rates, property crime is still fairly high in Winnipeg.[3][6] The break and enter rate in Winnipeg (circa 710.8) is 41.1% higher than the national rate, the auto-theft rate (circa 333.0) is 49.0% higher, the theft rate (1869.3) is 27.3% higher and the mischief rate (1,736.1) is 98.3% higher. There is no national recorded arson rate, but the arson rate in Winnipeg is 63.6 per 100,000 residents.

Law enforcement[edit]

Winnipeg is protected by the Winnipeg Police Service, which in 2012, had 1,442 police officers.[3]

In November 2013, the national police union reviewed the Winnipeg Police Force and found that it took an average of 77 minutes to respond to domestic assaults and assaults with a weapon.[21] The Canadian Police Association president Tom Stamatakis even said, "the WPS is the only police force in the country that treats calls for assaults with a weapon and domestic assaults as minor incidents.", and went on to say, "What's even more shocking is the average response time to calls like that in Winnipeg is 77 minutes, if I phone 911 and say there's someone on my property with a knife and he's threatening to stab me... the average response time is 77 minutes.". The report also reported that it would take the police 26 to 51 minutes to respond to things like stabbings, shootings or child safety calls,[22] whereas in other cities it might take 17 minutes.

Crime Rates[edit]

Homicide history[edit]


Only neighborhoods with over 1,000 people, and more than one homicide are accounted for in this table. These rates are from 4 years, 2009 to 2012.

There are over 25 other neighbourhoods with homicides, however they did not qualify

Crime by District[edit]

The City of Winnipeg has five distinct police districts:[32]

  • District 1 - City Centre
  • District 2 - St. James / Assiniboia
  • District 3 - Lord Selkirk / West Kildonan
  • East District - St. Boniface / St. Vital / Elmwood / East Kildonan / North Kildonan / Transcona
  • District 6 - Assiniboine Park / Fort Rouge / Fort Garry
Crime by District, 2011[33]
District 1 District 2 District 3 East District District 6 Not District Specific
Violent Crime 2,958 633 2,348 1,575 940 31
Property Crimes 7,691 3,697 6,414 7,732 5,309 1,019
Other Crimes 12,689 4,798 10,707 10,355 6,816 1,067
Total Area 14.22 km2 (5.49 sq mi) 65.11 km2 (25.14 sq mi) 65.28 km2 (25.20 sq mi) 174.37 km2 (67.32 sq mi) 156.22 km2 (60.32 sq mi)


In 2011, Manitoba had the highest violent crime rate and homicide rate of all Canadian provinces[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The populations used for the rates were based on trends on the every-5-year census report. For example, the population on the 2001 Census was 619,544, and in 2006 it was 633,451. Therefore the population used for 2002 was 622,325 and for 2005 it was 630,670. The populations reported on the annual reports are much higher than the census reports, therefore likely inaccurate by an overestimation.
  2. ^ If there are two rates with a "/" between them, it is because there were two different recorded rates. The rate on the left is from the Annual Crime Report, where as on the right is from CrimeStat.
  3. ^ "Other violations causing death" only started showing records in the 2012 report (shows 2011 data as well), meaning from 1991 to 2010, only includes 1st and 2nd degree murders.
  4. ^ Includes all thefts such as over $5,000, under $5,000, possession of stolen goods and fraud. It doesn't include motor vehicle theft however.
  1. ^ Homicide Rates in Canada: Statistics & Trends. Retrieved November 28th, 2013
  2. ^ Latest numbers crown Winnipeg as Canada’s murder capital, Note: The rate in this year was 6.2/6.8 due to later discovered homicides. Retrieved November 28th, 2013
  3. ^ a b c 2012 Annual Crime Report, [1]. Retrieved November 28th, 2013
  4. ^ Canada Homicide 2011, [2]. Retrieved November 28th, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d "CrimStat". City of Winnipeg. Retrieved 28 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Crimes in Canada, by type of violation, and by province and territory, [3]. Retrieved November 28th, 2013
  7. ^ a b Every Annual Crime Report, [4]. Retrieved November 28th, 2013
  8. ^ Winnipeg Crime Rate Chart
  9. ^ a b c Crime in Winnipeg Neighbourhoods (2012). Retrieved December 3rd, 2013
  10. ^ Crime Map of Toronto. Retrieved November 28th, 2013
  11. ^ Crimes, by type of violation, and by province and territory(Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick)
  12. ^ To get the crime rates, I used the populations from now.Winnipeg [ and crime figures from CrimeStat retrieved October 2013
  13. ^ NeighborhoodScout's Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in America, retrieved in mid-2013
  14. ^ Note this list does not include the commercial areas Polo Park or Kensington and the Exchange District due to its residential development after 2006
  15. ^ a b Winnipeg 2006 Census Profiles Retrieved on 27 February 2014
  16. ^ Winnipeg Homicide Map. Retrieved June-06-2014
  17. ^ a b Offenses Known to Law Enforcement, by State by City, 2012 Retrieved June-21-2014
  18. ^ Crimes Rates in Canada 2006, [5]. Retrieved November 28th, 2013
  19. ^ "Immobilizers to be mandatory on high-risk used cars in Manitoba". CBC. 2006-08-23. Archived from the original on May 26, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  20. ^ [6], retrieved November 28th, 2013
  21. ^
  22. ^ CBC News  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ Annual Crime Reports:
  24. ^ Winnipeg Homicide Statistics & Stories
  25. ^ CBC News  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ CBC News  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ CBC News  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^
  31. ^ City of Winnipeg Neighbourhood Profiles
  32. ^ "About the Service Winnipeg Police Districts". City of Winnipeg. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  33. ^ "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). City of Winnipeg. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  34. ^ [7], StatCan 2011 Crime by Province/Territory

External links[edit]