High Police Resourcing Relative to Crime Clearance Rate in Winnipeg

Blog, Policing, Frontier Centre

In 1999, Winnipeg had the second highest level of police strength of Canadian cities, at 182 officers per 100,000 population. Only Thunder Bay had more police, 187 per 100,000 population.

Winnipeg’s crime rate was sixth among the 25 major metropolitan areas, but the City’s police department ranked twenty-first in the percentage of crimes that were actually solved, 25%. Thunder Bay’s success rate, 56%, was more than double Winnipeg’s. Even though Regina and Saskatoon, cities that are demographically almost identical to Winnipeg, had much higher crime rates, their police forces solved a lot more crimes, 40% and 42% respectively.

Per capita police costs in Winnipeg are only slightly higher than the Canadian average even though staffing is among the highest in Canada. These facts suggest two conclusions. First, the Winnipeg Police Service is carrying a heavy administrative burden. Second, the force has problems with the effective allocation of resources, including Canada’s most rigid two-officer police car policy. Fewer resources are therefore available for front-line crime-fighting, with clearance rates for property crimes of only 16% and violent crimes of 61%, for a weighted average of 25%. Jurisdictions vary widely, but most others in Canada have higher success rates with resources that are equal to, or fewer than those in Winnipeg.

SOURCE: All the above data is contained in Police Resources in Canada, 2000, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-225-XIE.

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