The Regina Police mid-year stats report is out, and showing an overall increase of 16 and a half percent of total crime in the city from last year.
Among that, 23 attempted murders were reported, the most in a 10 year span.
Police Chief Evan Bray said often times, firearms being used increases an assault charge to attempted murder.
“The prevalence of firearms and the use of firearms often escalates what the corresponding assault charge is,” Bray said. “A fist fight results in an assault charge or an assault causing bodily harm, but me shooting at you can result in an attempted murder charge, and so it’s got some direct relationship to that.”
Bray said when it comes to weapons, a criminals choice of weapon has changed.
“When I started policing, which was 24 years ago, we often saw a lot of knives and edged-weapons in the community, so a fight breaks out, someone pulls out a knife and things get serious real quick,” Bray said. “Now, we’re seeing people pull out guns.”
Bray said while RPS is prepared to handle an increase in crime, they may not be able to do it alone.
“We’re going to need provincial partners to help us with that, the board is working with us in terms of budget approvals to be able to deal with this but also with the provincial government understanding there’s work that we’re doing now that maybe could be done by other organizations that frees us up to focus on crime-related issues in the community.”
Bray adds a good portion of the crime being committed is a result of the city’s three biggest issues; drugs, gangs and guns.
Fougere believes Regina is ‘still a safe city’
The news of crime increasing yet again in Regina still has Mayor Michael Fougere believing his city is relatively safe.
The crime stats that were released Thursday morning show thefts are on the rise, as well as mischief and kidnapping. However, crimes against a person are down.
Fougere said the crime trend is going up across the country.
“A point that I would talk about that the Chief mentioned in particular is the non-criminal code activity where we need partners to come forward and assist the police service so they can do what they do best in their core service, which is fighting crime, preventing crime, and catching those who cause those crimes.”
Fougere said a housing first strategy is a vital part of reducing crime in the city.
“Housing First essentially (allows) the person who has drug addiction problems or are even in the criminal system, they receive housing first as a way to give wraparound service to deal with a particular issue, whether it be drug addictions, violent crime, what ever it may be,” Fougere said. “That’s how we want to do that and it does have an impact on the criminal justice system.”
Another positive that has been noted by police is there have been no cannabis-related impaired driving offences since legalization in October of 2018.