winnipeg liquor store theft

This Canadian city has a major issue with thefts at liquor stores

Winnipeg has been struggling with increasing theft from liquor stores for a while now, and it seems the problem just isn't improving. 

According to Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, incidents of theft increased by more than 300 per cent from 2017 to 2018.

While there were 658 thefts in Liquor Marts in 2017, that number rose to more than 2,600 in 2018.

Currently there are hundreds of Liquor Mart robberies per week in Winnipeg.

"Over the last several months, Liquor Marts have seen an increasing number of thefts in our Winnipeg locations. We know this is concerning and frustrating to our customers. It is concerning and frustrating to us as well. We take these thefts very seriously," MB Liquor and Lotteries' website states.

They've implemented several measures to curb the issue, including a state-of-the-art surveillance system, security guards assigned to observing, detecting and deterring theft, working closely with the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) to identify suspects using in-house technologies and intelligence, and use of WPS Special Constables at various Liquor Mart locations.

They've also started doing bag and photo ID checks, implementing safeguard measures for products most targeted by thieves, adding security barriers at some Liquor Mart locations, and they do non-violent crisis intervention staff training that is standard at retailers across the country. 

Still, the problem persists. And apparently the issue isn't just with liquor stores. 

"This problem is not unique to Liquor Marts," their website reads. "Retailers across the province are also experiencing increases in thefts and robberies."

At a press conference held at MLL headquarters Monday, spokesperson Andrea Kowal said they fear social media is only worsening the issue, and she cautioned not to film theft on cell phones. 

She added that, despite preventative measures, even stores with cops in them are still getting robbed. 

Kowal also said safety is the number-one priority. 

"No one's life or safety is worth a bottle," she said. "It's just not worth it."

Despite the fact that there's clearly no easy answer, MB Liquor and Lotteries says they're not giving up and that they'll continue to work with police to solve this ongoing issue.

Lead photo by

Wikimedia Commons

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