‘Caught up in a lifestyle’: Youth-focused Winnipeg police task force releases stats

Winnipeg police have released the findings of a report from Project Surge, a task force established in the spring to tackle youth crime.

The team has identified 117 youths who police say are responsible for 1,795 police incidents — as accused or victims — since 2023. The incidents include everything from homicides and serious assaults to missing persons reports.

Of those incidents, 519 have occurred since Project Surge began in March.

Police said a big part of the project is doing regular compliance checks on offenders who are subject to court orders — a process that has led to 150 arrests of identified youths since the project began, and 435 since January of last year.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg police tackle spate of violent youth crime'

Winnipeg police tackle spate of violent youth crime

Kent Dueck, executive director of Inner City Youth Alive, told 680 CJOB’s Connecting Winnipeg that create a real solution, there need to be supports for these young offenders beyond the justice system.

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“I do think we have to incarcerate youth, but we have to have a much more nuanced approach,” Dueck said.

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“There’s individuals that commit crimes, and the reasons for those crimes are so varied. I think we have to get a little smarter and look at the individual cases and do a better job of assessing somebody’s readiness for release.”

Breaking the cycle of crime is something that can be done, Dueck said. It’s something he’s seen first-hand through his organization’s Step-Up Construction job program.

“When these youth are caught up in these violent cycles, they’re caught up in a lifestyle.

“Unless you can offer them an alternative to that lifestyle, you’re going to have this turnstile approach to arresting and releasing these individuals…. I just feel that our problems are more complex than ever.”

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The Winnipeg police board meets Friday to discuss the results of the report.

Click to play video: 'Series of serious crimes committed by Winnipeg youths in care, police say'

Series of serious crimes committed by Winnipeg youths in care, police say

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