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Has crime got you worried? Uh oh, its worse than you think


Chances are you've been talking a lot about crime lately.

What with a triple shooting in Transcona and a teenager stabbed in a public park this week, shots fired as two ethnic groups faced off in Osborne Village last week moments before one man was stabbed to death on the street, and a summer of arsons spreading fear throughout Fort Rouge and St. James.

No wonder we're the violent crime capital of the country according to Stats Canada.

What you don't know, is that it's much, much worse than you think.

Statistics Canada divides its annual crime stats into two parts. There's the crime severity index and the violent crime severity index, which get confusing if you don't speak Bureaucrat.

The crime severity index is the number of crimes reported to police in a city and the violent crime severity index is a measure of how serious those crimes are.

So a city may have a lot of shoplifting and vandalism, and place high in the crime severity index. But another city may have a lot of arsons and shootings, and be Number One in the violent crime severity index.

We're that second city. We're tops. Numero Uno. Nobody can touch us. They measure us at twice the violent crime of the Canadian average.

Only, as we said, its worse than that.

We looked at how they create the violent crime severity index. It turns out they give "weights" to the various crimes, then average them out. So that possession of marijuana gets a 7 count while murder gets a 7000.

The weighting depends on how judges sentence offenders.

"The specific weight for any given type of offence consists of two parts. The first component is the incarceration rate for that offence type. This is the proportion of people convicted of the offence who are sentenced to time in prison. The second component is the average (mean) length of the prison sentence, in days, for the specific type of offence." Stats Canada

In short, the easier the judges, the lower the weight given to crimes. So that when Manitoba judges give hand out one day in jail for killing someone, that lowers the average "weight" for murder.

Whenever an aboriginal offender plays his get-out-of-jail-free card given him by the Supreme Court, it lowers the average "weight" for his crime.

And when it comes to crime by juveniles, why bother? All those probation orders for car theft handed out by Manitoba judges don't count for a thing. Even "deferred custody", whatever that is, is treated "as non-incarceral in the model" states Statistics Canada. In short, all the murders, muggings, break-ins, and, yes, arsons, committed by juveniles in Winnipeg don't mean a thing because the most severe sentence a judge can impose is 3 years in jail for first degree murder.

A weighting of 7000? Forget it. Try 0.7.

And----wait for it---- it's actually worse than that.

Stats Canada releases another report on crime every five years. They hate it. The liberal bureaucrats do their best to minimize the findings because it contradicts the myth they want to propagate, namely that crime is falling and there's no need for the Conservatives' tough-on-crime legislation. Here's how the Stats Canada crowd describes their own report:

"Every five years Statistics Canada releases self-reported victimization data from the General Social Survey (GSS), which measures people's perceptions of their experiences of crime for eight offences. The GSS captures information on self-reported incidents of criminal victimization, whether or not they are reported to police. The most recent victimization data were published in September 2010."

Got that? "People's perceptions of their experience."

So remember, the next time someone breaks into your house or your car, that's only your "perception" of crime according to the Stats Canada bureaucrats.

But they can't escape what the report shows.

"According to the 2009 GSS, about 7.4 million Canadians, or just over one-quarter of the population aged 15 years and older,reported being a victim of a criminal incident in the preceding 12 months."

Manitoba tops the list of provinces. The Stats Canada survey indicates that 175 of every 1000 people in the province were victims of one of the eight crimes canvassed: sexual assault, robbery, physical assault, break and enter, motor vehicle/parts theft, theft of household property, vandalism and theft of personal property.

We're so far ahead of the everyone else on the chart (second place was Saskatchewan at 159 per thousand) that if it gets much worse they'll have to create one chart for all the other cities and a separate chart just for Winnipeg.

And remember, that's only eight crimes. Arson doesn't make the list. Does getting your house sprayed in a drive-by shooting count, as vandalism, maybe? And if your 14-year-old son or 13-year-old daughter gets mugged or shot or run down in a stolen car, its an invisible crime to bureaucrats.

Only the damage is real. The physical damage and the emotional damage.

Winnipeg leads the country in criminal violence even when the statisticians do their best to minimize the severity of crimes.

And the number of crimes reported to police doesn't come close to the number of victims.

People have given up calling the police. It's comical to see Winnipeg police spokesman Jason Michalyshen advise people, now that violent crime has erupted in the suburbs, to call whenever they see anything suspicious. Residents of the North End and Inner City have been doing that for years and getting the brush-off from police.

You want a taste of the frustration of real people, not the sugar coating of the police spokesman? Read the blog A Day in the Hood. Here's a sample:

Monday, July 11, 2011
When Is Criminal Behaviour Not Criminal Behavior?

Well, I am sorry to say, I am not over this issue yet.
We had a bit of an incident yesterday, with an intoxicated individual busting through the neighbours hedge and attempting to open a window with his keys. This was followed by the Police advising me that no crime was committed. And the landlord wanted to know what I expected her to do about it.

Let me re-word this.
What if this happened in Charleswood?
What if an extremely intoxicated individual was seen breaking his way through a thick hedge in your neighbours property? What if you heard him snapping branches and struggling to get through the hedge? What if he made his way into the neighbours yard?
Answer: vandalism, public intoxication, trespassing
What if this intoxicated trespassing vandal proceeded to go the window of the next house over and try to cut the screen open with his keys? What if he kept trying to pry the window open? What if you knew the only person on the lease of the suite from that house was a female?
Answer: attempted break and enter
What if this same intoxicated person left the yard and moved to the back yard of the property he was trying to get into? What if he wandered around the yard for a while? And, what if he finally got into his truck and drove off?
Answer: public intoxication, driving while under the influence
What if this same person came back, crashing his truck into the fence in the yard he drove into? What if he was still intoxicated? What if he decided to pass out in his truck to wait for the person who lived there to come home and open the door?
Answer: driving while under the influence, property damage, public intoxication
So, why are all of these things allowed to happen in the North End?

Regarding the Police:
Why did the Police on the phone tell me no crime was committed when I told her about the hedge, the trespassing, the attempted break and enter and the individual wondering in the back yard of the residence he tried to get into? Why did the person tell me they probably live there?
And, of course, there's the mighty press that's raising a hue and cry about the arsons in the suburbs. Here's how they treated the same story in the North End.

There was the fire in my dumpster. Then the fire in the dumpster down the street, in the dumpster that I ordered in, so garbage would not be placed on the ground behind that one house. Then the couch and back of a porch on a house in the lane. And now, the neighbours dumpster.

Those are the fires I am aware of, the ones I noticed, in my one back lane on a single block in the North End of Winnipeg.

A Free Press reported, William Burr, contacted me last week, after I wrote my blog entry Fires Running Rampant ... In Crescentwood?. He was going to come into the North End and take a tour of the area I talked about, the three short blocks that had seven fires within three months, that I was aware of. The reporter said he would have to get the 'ok' from his Editor. And we all know what the editor said ..... "not news worthy". It didn't surprise me one bit that North End fires are not 'news worthy' to the Press.

I also contacted 311 to see if I could get stats on the number of arsons taking place since April 1 from Redwood to Mountain, Main to McGregor (about the same area as stated in the Free Press article on Arsons in Crescentwood). They said to contact the Police, so I did.

Still waiting for a reply...

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