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Innovative Crime Plan crushed auto-theft and will be replicated against street gangs.

THE Winnipeg Police Association held a rare press conference Friday to reaffirm its support for Mayor Sam Katz’s anti-gang strategy.

The city’s police union, which has endorsed Katz’s re-election bid, said it supports the incumbent mayor’s plan to dedicate 20 officers to a Winnipeg Police Service gang unit modelled on the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy

WPA president Mike Sutherland said the tactics that helped reduce local car-theft rates would translate well to fighting gang crime under the auspices of the Gang Response and Suppression Plan, or GRASP, launched in January.

Katz has committed 20 of 58 promised new police officers to GRASP. The WPA previously stated it wanted 25, but supports Katz’s plan.

“Sam asked us what we thought it would reasonably take and how the officers needed to be deployed,” Sutherland said. “He took the time to hear why we thought it would work and the manner in which it would be most effective, and then was prepared to make those commitments.”

Sutherland said the association also had discussions with mayoral challenger Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

“But there was no discussion in terms of specific commitments,” Sutherland said. “She did hear what our concerns were and we’re just waiting what platform comes out of that campaign.”

Sutherland estimated gangs or gang associates commit roughly half of all crime in Winnipeg. He said targeting key gangsters would work in the same way the auto-theft campaign targeted the worst offenders.

“With 16 officers, we made a 74-per-cent decrease in stolen autos over the last three years. That’s an incredible reduction,” Sutherland said.

Wasylycia-Leis told reporters she supports an increase in…READ MORE HERE.