A University of Winnipeg criminology professor says the novel coronavirus pandemic has had both positive and negative effects on crime rates in the city.
So far this year there have been 30 homicides in Winnipeg, ten of which remain open cases with no arrests being made.
As well, there have been numerous shootings, stabbings and serious assaults.
Doctor Michael Weinrath ays the pandemic has provided more opportunity for violent street crime due to fewer people on the streets. “You don’t have as many people providing informal surveillance,” he said, “which usually prevents crime on the street by keeping people in check.”
However, he partially attributes the high crime rates to the summer season. “Criminologists have known since the 1800s that there’s a definite spike in crime when things warm up,” he told Global News.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused non-violent crimes such as shoplifting to decrease, says Weinrath.
“A lot of the stores were closed for months,” he said, “and now there are fewer people in stores so it’s more difficult to steal.”
Weinrath also credits Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries for increasing security measures at all locations and reducing thefts.
According to Winnipeg police crime statistics released in July, the city finished 2019 with 44 homicides, a record-setting number of slayings, and exactly twice as many as the city saw in 2018.
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