The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Winnipeg muggings are out of control

Sound the alarm. This is no joke.

We were reading the latest Crimestat numbers and were just about to reach for the klaxon of congratulations when we spotted this:

Robbery--non commercial Up 39 percent


For the unitiated, robbery/non-commercial is the polite police code for muggings and strong-arm robberies, purse-snatchings and home invasions. Exactly the up close-and-personal crimes that people fear the most.

And summer has barely started. How high will the numbers be over the warm months when more and more people are spending time outside their homes?

From the first of January to the 31st of May, there have been 594 muggings and other personal robberies, an average of four a day. On Monday alone, the first day of June, there were three incidents in St. Vital in a one-hour period as men with bear spray attacked people in a park, on the street, and at a bus stop, with one victim being hospitalized.

Last year (2008) Crimestat recorded 1173 robberies of this kind, with almost half in District 1, the Inner City.

This year District 1 has had a 37 percent increase in muggings (254 compared with 185).

But District 3, the North End, has had a whopping 67 percent increase in strong-arm robberies (180 compared with 108), with more than half the year still to come.

"It's something that needs to be watched carefully in the new year." we said in our 2008 Year End report last December. Even more disturbing is the knowledge that many of these crimes are never reported to police, either because the victims are afraid or because what was stolen is not worth the hassle of filing a police report.

The other statistic that worries us is home break-ins, up 9 percent so far. In 2008, residential break-ins were down 25 percent, one of the big successes of the year.

Crimestat, otherwise, has some good news for citizens of Winnipeg.

Commercial break-ins are down 19 percent, commercial robberies down 5 percent, and homicide to date down an amazing 31 percent (11 compared with 16 last year). We may finally lose the title of Murder Capital of Canada.

Other break-ins (garages, most likely) are down 6 percent, but with so many not reported, this small change is statistically meaningless.

Car theft is down 41 percent, with attempts down 42 percent. But as we've said in the past, nobody gets credit for a reduction in crimes that should never have happened in the first place. Read

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