Manitoba RCMP has assembled a new team to deal with violent crime in rural communities.
RCMP said violent crime is escalating in the province, noting it’s often driven by street gangs and prolific offenders.
RCMP added that these perpetrators and gangs often use guns to carry out the crimes and this increases the safety risk of people in the community.
In response to these crimes, the RCMP created the Strategic Enforcement Response Team (SERT).
SERT will operate in two phases, information gathering and data analysis, and enforcement.
Through intelligence gathering and data analysis, frontline officers will gather information about crimes and offenders and add it to the RCMP records.
This information is then analyzed by SERT, which “looks for patterns in a particular community that is seeing increases in violent crime.”
This information is then forwarded to the Major Crime Services who continue to gather information and search warrants may also be obtained during this time.
On the enforcement side, a plan is being drawn up so that local departments have the proper resources to carry out search warrants, arrest warrants and criminal compliance checks.
“SERT is about being insight-driven and data-driven. When SERT is deployed, it means we have identified a problem, determined what or who is causing the problem, and we will take specific steps to stop the problem,” said Supt. Scott McMurchy.
Manitoba Attorney General Kelvin Goertzen said the province is working to reduce violent crime and the fact that RCMP is using an intelligence plan is a big step in stopping crime.
“Offenders traveling between major urban centers and rural Manitoba can only be stopped with this level of collaboration and collaboration,” Goertzen said.
RCMP said the first SERT operation was in Moose Lake, Man. from July 20th to 22nd.
The area was chosen due to a rise in violent crime, homicides, gun calls and street gang activity.
There, officers arrested 21-year-old Agel Awak Agnek of Winnipeg and a 16-year-old man from Calgary while they were executing a search warrant.
They were each charged with trafficking in cocaine and possession of crime proceeds under $5,000.
A second search warrant at another home in the area helped police discover a crossbow and ammunition. Police also seized a firearm.
RCMP also carried out 75 stops on people with court-imposed conditions or arrest warrants. Following these checks, seven people were arrested for breaching their terms and two were arrested on outstanding warrants.
RCMP said one of the individuals was among the “most prolific offenders in Moose Lake.”
After the SERT team left the area, RCMP officers were able to arrest five people and charge them with multiple drug and firearms offenses. Police also recovered a handgun, an extended magazine and cocaine.
RCMP said the five people were linked to the Moose Lake drug trafficking network and links to street gangs in northern Manitoba.
None of the charges have been tested in court.