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Wpg Free Press: There were just nine days in 2017 without reports of firearms sightings in Winnipeg

October 3, 2018 — 

As the Winnipeg Free Press reports: 

In all but nine days last year, police responded to gun reports on the streets of Winnipeg — calls that took them to every area of the city, from the downtown core to the North End and Tuxedo to Fort Garry….

University of Manitoba criminology and sociology professor Frank Cormier cautions against jumping to conclusions.

“When someone is seen with a firearm, we have to figure out exactly what we’re talking about, he said. “What’s becoming common is for people to have things that look exactly like firearms, airsoft guns and things like that.

“But, if by the time police arrive that person is gone, you may not get to the bottom of what exactly was going on there.”

Indeed, Murray said officers have seen increasing numbers of imitation firearms and homemade “zip guns” on the streets.

In the past, police have suggested that could be attributed, in part, to an increasing number of firearms seizures, something Cormier said may be a positive sign.

“A rise in zip guns could actually be a good thing. It could be that fact that we’re doing a better job in keeping real guns out of the hands of criminals,” he said.

Whatever the case, the data analyzed by the Free Press is too small a sample size to reveal long-term crime trends, Cormier said, even if it does provide insight into what police dealt with during that time.

“Anything crime-related, the key thing we need to keep in mind is that we have to be able to collect data over at least a number of years. That’s important so we can understand if what we’re seeing is a trend or a blip, because if that’s the case it would be unwise for us to start making policy decisions based on it,” he said.

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