Fort Garry wave of vehicle vandalism angers residents
Fort Garry residents are frustrated — they’re tired of cleaning up broken glass; tired of filing another insurance claim; tired of seeing their vehicles vandalized.
The Winnipeg neighborhood has been experiencing a spate of such incidents for about a month, a Hudson Street resident told the Free press.
“It literally looks like they’re doing it for fun – there’s no reason for it,” 29-year-old Stephanie Roldan-Gutierrez said.
The Winnipeg Police Service confirmed it recorded a wave of vehicle vandalism, but had few other details to provide on Friday. The Major Crimes Unit is aware of and actively investigating the case, Const. Jay Murray said in an email.
“There are widespread reports in our Western District area, and (we) are still accumulating reports due to the different ways damage can be reported (online, in person, by phone, etc.),” said Murray.
“We don’t have any numbers to provide at this time, but we encourage anyone who hasn’t yet reported to do so.”
The driver’s side window of Roldan-Gutierrez’s vehicle was smashed Thursday night while parked near Clarence Avenue.
It was the first time her car had been targeted, but a neighbor had her windows smashed on several occasions – most recently, the day after he had one replaced, she said. On Thursday morning, she noticed about eight vandalized vehicles on and near her street.
“We were all really angry about it because it’s been going on for quite a while,” Roldan-Gutierrez said.
“It’s very frustrating to see this happen to my neighbors and everyone… They may only have one vehicle, and they’re stuck with a broken window, they have to pay a deductible – they have to do it every week.”
Roldan-Gutierrez said other streets in the neighborhood were also targeted.
Neighborhood residents, who compiled home surveillance footage, believe the culprits are driving a dark four-door sedan.
Sometimes they used a BB or pellet gun; other times they broke the windows with a baton or some other object. Usually, Roldan-Gutierrez said, the vandals come on Wednesday or Sunday night.
Cars are generally not searched, nor do suspects attempt to steal vehicles, she said.
“I’ve spoken to a bunch of people in the neighborhood and they really want the police to do something – I know it’s hard because there’s so much going on – but even just patrol the area,” said Roldan-Gutierrez.
We’re talking about scheduled neighborhood watch – at least until someone is caught.
“A lot of us try to get together and get people driving late at night just to keep an eye on the neighborhood,” she said.
Manitoba Public Insurance does not collect data by city ward, but noted an increase in reported vandalism crimes, including glass claims, in Winnipeg this month, a spokeswoman said. .
On February 2, 2021, the Crown corporation received 35 vandalism claims; on the same day this year, he received 98.
On February 3, 2021, he also received 35 complaints; in 2022 it was 173.
Erik Pindera is a multimedia producer at the Winnipeg Free Press.
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