Winnipeg police increasing presence at The Forks

By Mike Albanese

Police Chief Danny Smyth says there will be a beefed-up police presence at The Forks following a spike in crime in recent weeks, but says the recent incidents are not unusual for Winnipeg.

“Nothing that we’re talking about today is new. Nothing. This is a concern to us, but it’s not new to us.”

Chief Smyth says any stabbing or violent assault in the city is concerning but says the recent focus on The Forks has been brought about by media attention.

The WPS says violent crime in Winnipeg is up five per cent compared to 2020. But crime rates at The Forks don’t stand out from other years.

“As far as assaults go, the highest we had was 14 assaults one year, the lowest was six assaults – this year we’re sitting at five, so these are small but serious,” said Smyth.


Despite this, Smyth says police will embolden their presence at the city landmark.

“We have foot patrols that have been largely concentrated in the transit corridors and shed area – we’ll ask them to swing by the forks as part of their beat duties, and we also intend on assigning a full-time foot patrol there on weekends, at least for the short term.”

A statement from Forks CEO Sara Stasiuk says they take the safety of their staff and visitors seriously. “We have expanded on-site foot patrol, bike patrol, and vehicle patrol and we will continue to evolve our own strategies in partnership with Winnipeg Police Service and other groups that focus on safety in our downtown.”

City Councillor Markus Chambers says despite the number of assaults at the forks sitting in line with other years, it’s understandable to be fearful right now. He says in September, there will be a summit on downtown safety with the police board engaging downtown stakeholders.

“Is this a knee-jerk reaction? I don’t think so, it’s appropriate because people are fearful, I feel safe but there are others who don’t share that feeling. I have to validate those concerns and do a better job working with our board and service so they feel safe in the community as well.”

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