An alarming number: Winnipeg’s skywalk system a hotbed for weapons

A hatchet, a pry bar and a number of needles – these are just a few of the items the Winnipeg Police Service has seized in an around the skywalk system.

Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth says officers are finding a cache of weapons and drugs in the city’s skywalk system.

Smyth told Winnipeg’s police board last week, in January alone, several weapons were seized within the skywalks. In some cases, he said, meth addicts are arming themselves and carrying weapons in small backpacks.

He offered a show and tell for the board using pictures that showed a hatchet, some type of pry bar, knives, what appeared to be a billiard ball wrapped in tape and several needles.

“We’re just making this available to people to give people an indication of what’s around them it’s not meant to scare people by any means, I think we need to be honest with people, this kind of stuff is happening,” said Smyth after the meeting.

Smyth told the board he knows the Millennium Library has taken some heat for adding metal detectors and bag searches at the entrance, but the Chief says the new measures are keeping weapons, like the ones he displayed, out of the library.

Library regular Nicole Henry feels the new security protocol is an invasion of privacy.

“It’s very off putting, it’s kind of upsetting at times because I feel like I’m being looked at and judged,” said Henry

CTV News then showed her the pictures of the seized weapons.

“Oh for heaven’s sake, oh my gosh, that’s very disturbing,” she said.

After seeing them, she says her feelings are mixed.

“I just open up my world to somebody that I don’t know, at the same time it’s about everybody else’s safety,” said Henry.

Smyth told the police board officers have been making a concerted effort to patrol the skywalks and the downtown transit corridor. The chief says the service is working together with Downtown Biz and private security in downtown businesses. He says the WPS is tracking the hours officers are patrolling the skywalks and the transit corridor.