Number of carjackings in Winnipeg spikes after years of steady increase

New numbers show a troubling trend when it comes to the number of carjackings in Winnipeg.

It more than doubled last year and has grown steadily over the past six years.

“Anytime you see the increase of a crime, it’s concerning,” said Winnipeg Police Service Const. Jay Murray. “Especially one that can be as violent as a carjacking.”

“Anytime we meet with a victim of a carjacking we definitely understand that it can be a very traumatic experience.”

Last year there were 103 carjackings, up from 50 in 2017, according to numbers provided by the Winnipeg Police Service.

There were 39 carjackings in 2016, up from 37 in 2015, 31 in 2014 and 19 in 2013.

“It used to be a lot easier to steal a car, some criminals would just jam a screwdriver into an ignition, turn it and steal a car that way,” said Murray. “It’s gotten a lot harder to steal cars with immobilizers so criminals now turn to crimes of opportunity.”

University of Winnipeg criminal justice professor Michael Weinrath calls the trend concerning.

He said there seems to be a growing number of people willing to use violence or the threat of violence in Winnipeg to commit crimes.

“There could be potential violence if the victim ends up resisting,” said Weinrath. “They could get hurt.”

“People who carjack are going to be people more likely to engage in high speed chases, which again, puts other people at risk.”

Weinrath said statistically speaking it’s still a rare occurrence.

Winnipeg police say you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a carjacking by making sure your doors stay locked while driving, remaining alert at all times and staying aware of your surroundings.

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