Project Surge – Update

Released: June 7, 2024 at 10:27 a.m.

Information contained in our media releases may relate to issues of violence or trauma, which could be distressing for some individuals. Be mindful of your well-being and consider whether or not engaging with this content is appropriate for you.

In 2023, the Winnipeg Police Service responded to an escalation of incidents which involved random acts of violence perpetuated by youths. 

Many of these events were tied to retail thefts or robberies of persons.  Analysis of these events began in uniform operations, looking for commonalities between the people involved, both accused and victims. 

It became apparent that numerous youths previously identified and arrested were repeatedly involved in many of these criminal acts. It also became evident that many of these youths were immersed in high-risk lifestyles, including previous traumatic backgrounds and real-time social and familial constraints requiring social supports that go beyond the justice system.

Project Surge was created as a person-focused investigation. The goal is to identify those who have demonstrated an elevated or high risk of committing violent acts and collaborate with agencies that can address some of the behavioural root causes and offer intensive services and support to these individuals.

In other words, Surge was not just about arresting people but how the police can follow up with partners including the Crown’s Office, Child and Family Services, cultural supports, gang turn-around programming, and retail establishments.

  • 117 youths have been identified in Project Surge
  • Responsible for 1795 police incidents, both as accused or victims since 2023 (these include Missing Persons reports, serious assaults, weapons offences and  homicides)- 519 since March

Part of the Surge initiative includes continuous police compliance checks for curfews, addresses and no contact conditions that are in place for offenders who are subject to court orders. 

  • 98 wanted person checks since March
  • 106 compliance checks since March
  • 435 arrests of these identified youths dating back to Jan 2023 – since project focus, we have arrested these youths 150 times 

In these early stages, Project Surge is a step in the right direction for identifying and monitoring repeat offenders and ensuring the public’s safety. There are plans for continuous engagement with government and social partnerships to work with these high-risk youths.

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