Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.
Coun. Sarah Doucette says she has received a dozen complaints in the past year that the new police presence has increased the fear of crime and more police are needed to help keep the peace.
“We’re being told there will be no arrests made against people living in these tents or in backyards,” said Coun. Sarah Doucette, who is running for re-election this spring. “There are more than 1000 of these campers in my riding and I have been in contact with numerous individuals that have gone to police to report they are afraid to leave the camp site because of what they’ve heard.”
The complaints from the city range from “people being scared off from doing anything,” to “I’m scared to see my children outside.”
Coun. Sarah Doucette says she knows that the vast majority of campers want a solution and that they are willing to work with police.
“We want to build up the police service in our cities and right now there is no police presence in Winnipeg,” said Coun. Sarah Doucette. “That’s fine. We will have a police presence as a result of what this bill does.”
Despite the fears of crime, the Downtown Eastside has seen fewer crime incidents than in years past.
Coun. Sarah Doucette says one of the fears of residents is public housing, but she says there is a proposal in the pipeline to build new public housing in central Winnipeg.
“I don’t want to speak for everyone in the Downtown Eastside, but we want to see more public housing,” said Coun. Sarah Doucette.
She also says that she is not convinced that police are needed to keep people safe, and that it’s up to people to report crimes as they see them.