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Enchaced camera surveillance, stiffer panhandling fines floated in safety report

A new report says Manitoba should consider enhanced security cameras, a crackdown on panhandlers and other measures to improve safety in downtown Winnipeg. Spruce Woods Progressive Conservative candidate Cliff Cullen speaks during an announcement outside the Health Sciences Centre, in Winnipge on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kelly Malone

WINNIPEG — A report from the Manitoba Police Commission says the province should consider enhanced security cameras, a crackdown on panhandlers and other measures to improve safety in downtown Winnipeg.

The report was commissioned earlier this year as crime spiked in the city.

It says more closed-circuit cameras could be installed in public areas and downtown streets, and new technology could be adopted so that the devices could detect certain behaviours.

Commission chair David Asper says the cameras might be able to have facial recognition technology or detect and alert police to potentially violent behaviour.

The report also says changes could be made to the highway traffic act so that panhandlers on roadways face more penalties than a simple fine.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen says he hopes to see many of the recommendations in the 46-page report implemented following further consultations with the public, police and other levels of government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2019.

The Canadian Press