This comes after an employee at a local convenience store was shot while trying to prevent a man from stealing a drink on Tuesday morning.
While the victim is now in stable condition, business owners around the city are taking notice and saying it’s an extreme example of the consequences of the culture of crime they’re seeing constantly.
“Every part of the city, 24 hours a day, middle of the day to the middle of the night, we have people doing all kinds of crazy stuff, simply because we don’t have the resources to deal with it,” said Ravi Ramberran, owner of the Four Crowns Restaurant and Bar.
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This most recent theft is far from the first to turn violent.
Food Fare owner Munther Zeid says just last week staff caught a shoplifter and took him to the back room, and from there the situation quickly escalated.
“He ended up getting his hands on one of the knives that we use in the produce department, it’s almost like a machete for cutting watermelon. The backroom was cleared out instantly.”
Zeid says the man fled and was caught by the police and while nobody was physically harmed, staff and customers were left shaken.
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Business owners have repeatedly sounded the alarm over violent crime and shoplifting in the city.
In April, Nikki Sherwin, owner of Woofs n’ Wags dog daycare, said her business has been broken into six times since December, with $15,000 to $20,000 worth of goods and cash stolen. She said the incidents are especially disheartening after years of building her business all on her own, and have taken a major toll on her mental health.
“It’s depressing. It has made me anxious. I have panic attacks now.”
John Graham from the Retail Council of Canada says businesses in the city have been seeing more violent crime across the board.
“These are incidents that are the worst nightmare for retailers and those that are investing to create safe environments for shoppers and for their employees.”
He says this is causing more and more businesses to make the choice to not expand into Winnipeg because of the high safety concerns, which is not good for the economy of the city.
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Ramberran says he would like to see the city give more resources to the police as well as have tougher laws for repeat offenders because things cannot continue as they are. He notes crime is not only hurting businesses but also the well-being of owners and employees.
“It’s costing my employees their safety. We’re having to protect ourselves in every area of the city, and that’s just extremely sad.”
These owners say they want to see action immediately before the situation becomes even more dire.
Meanwhile, the province has recently made investments in the safety of the downtown including new units, police resources and additional patrols.
On July 6, the city announced a $10-million plan to tackle safety issues over two years. The plan included the addition of 24 new downtown-based officers, enhanced lighting in the area, the addition of 75 new CCTV cameras, and a centralized crime prevention hub.
— with files from Global’s Katherine Dornian
&© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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