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Enhanced social services strategies expected in the new year

Police: Meth at the forefront of Portage gun violence

By Brian Oliver, The Graphic

Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris (left) and Portage RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Rob Vachon address media Friday afternoon in Portage la Prairie. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris (left) and Portage RCMP detachment commander Staff Sgt. Rob Vachon address media Friday afternoon in Portage la Prairie. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)

Police are attributing the recent spike in gun violence Portage la Prairie has experienced to the resurgence of crystal meth in the community.

Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris and Portage RCMP detachment commander Staff Sergeant Rob Vachon addressed media Friday afternoon following three shootings in six days in the city's north end.

“Crystal meth has surfaced again and that's what we are dealing with,” said Staff Sgt. Vachon. “When people use crystal meth they are more violent and unpredictable and this is the results you get.”

Police have arrested three men between 18 and 20 years of age in relation to the first two shootings and continue to investigate after a house was shot at in Oak Bay Thursday morning. 

“This does not represent Portage la Prairie. This is not who we are, however sometimes bad things happen to good communities and this is what happened this past week,” said Mayor Ferris. “Our community has had a very challenging week but we're very pleased with the RCMP .. At the end of the day they have kept our community safe and that's what's important.”

Police have confirmed that the attacks were targeted and there is no concern for public safety. 

“We live in a very welcoming, inclusive, safe community. (There's) no reason to be afraid,” added Ferris.

Two of the three shootings occurred in the Oak Bay area of Portage la Prairie and RCMP have devoted additional resources for patrol. 

“In the early hours of the morning we will be stopping people driving around,” said Staff Sgt. Vachon. “I don't care if they get stopped several times. If thats what needs to happen it will happen.”

Ferris alluded to the implementation of enhanced social services to the area and expects to announce those strategies in the new year.



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