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Winnipeg Police officers responded to five calls involving guns during a 24-hour period between Aug. 14, and 15.

There was also a sixth call just outside that window on Aug. 16. 

Const. Rob Carver attributed this high number of calls to the city's growing drug problem. 

"This is what we're facing on a daily basis," he said. "This is an overview of what we face in this city, mostly fueled by methamphetamine."  

The incidents began on Aug. 14 at 1:15 a.m. when 2 female suspects robbed a grocery store in the West Alexander neighbourhood with a long gun. Around 11:20 p.m. that same day, a female suspect armed with a handgun robbed a grocery store in Weston area. 

Around 10:20 p.m. on Aug. 15, a man police believe was high on meth entered a restaurant with a loaded sawed-off shotgun. Half an hour later a female suspect robbed a grocery store with a handgun, and just over an hour after that a 16-year-old man was robbed in Fort Rouge by two suspects armed with a knife and a gun. 

Then, in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, a man was shot in the city's East District and taken to hospital. 

Carver says each of these incidents are extremely concerning and challenging for police.  

"The person has brought a weapon with the potential to kill people so our officers respond knowing they might have to use deadly force," Carver said. "Suspects presented firearms and the likelihood is that someone is going to get hurt if not killed." 

Carver says gun calls not only present tough situations for responding officers, but they also put a strain on police resources. Although it's not mandatory, Carver says two or more units always respond to firearms calls so they can back each other up, meaning in these six incidents, 12 or more units were tied up while responding.  

The unfortunate reality of that is lower-priority calls may be delayed. 

"When someone says 'my garage was broken into, my bike was stolen or my car was broken into', we want to get there as fast as we can but when someone walks into a restaurant with a loaded sawed-off shotgun, you want to see at least four or six officers show up to make sure that person is taken into custody," Carver said. "When there's a gun call and myself and my partner get assigned, if someone else can get there they're going to back us up. Because if we're shot at we're going to need help, and if we're shooting at someone we're going to need other officers to maintain that perimeter." 

"Unfortunately property crimes, or crimes where the suspects have already left get moved down, he continued. "I can appreciate people's frustrations but this is the reality of a regular 24 hour period in our city." 

Carver says the Winnipeg Police Service is in the stages of implementing a strategy specifically designed to combat drug-related crimes. 

He says since Aug. 1, 2018, the police have responded to an average of one firearm call per day. 

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