Guns have turned into a big problem this year in Regina. New numbers released by the Regina Police Service show more violent incidents occurring in 2016, more people being hurt by guns, and more guns being stolen.
From January to August this year police said there were 74 violent incidents involving a gun, while there were 56 in the same time period in 2015 – that is a 32 per cent increase, and a 70 per cent increase over the five-year average.
In the same time period, police said there were 33 gun-related incident where no one was hurt, which is more than 16 times higher than the number of similar incidents in the same period in 2016 – two – and it’s a 171 per cent increase on the five-year average.
In the first eight months of 2015, 11 people were hurt by guns, but in the first eight months of this year 26 people have been hurt by guns – that’s a 136 per cent increase year-over-year, but only a 106 per cent increase on the five-year average.
One-hundred and twenty-nine per cent more guns have been reported stolen up to August this year in Regina than in the same time last year – 32 in 2016, compared to 14 in 2015. However, that’s only a 15 per cent increase on the five-year average.
Approximately the same number of guns have been seized in the first eight months of 2016 as in the same time in 2015 – 217 in 2016 compared to 220 in 2015 – but that’s a 27 per cent increase over the five-year average. Most of those guns seized were common rifles, BB, and pellet guns.
After a shooting at a restaurant in August, police attributed the increase in gun incidents to there being more guns around. Superintendent Corey Zaharuk said more guns are being stolen, and things like airsoft and replica guns are easier to buy.
Zaharuk also explained some gun offenses are related to the drug trade – he described it as low-level, disorganized crime.