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Manitoba seeks feedback on rural crime strategies

Manitoba seeks feedback on rural crime strategies

Residents have until Oct. 31 to provide comments

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Manitoba’s government is looking to its citizens to help shape rural crime and metal theft legislation.

Until Oct. 31, Manitobans can submit feedback on potential amendments to existing laws and one possible piece of new legislation.

“Our government is committed to keeping Manitobans safe wherever they live,” Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said in an Aug. 31 release. “It will be critical to consult with law enforcement on this issue, but we want to hear from people in rural, northern and remote areas, as well as other Manitobans, about their experiences with crime so we can ensure the justice system responds to their needs.”

Changes could be coming to the Petty Trespasses Act (PTA), the Occupiers’ Liability Act (OLA) and the Animal Diseases Act (ADA).

The PTA could be revised to ensure the law itself is easier to enforce and prevent conflicts between landowners and trespassers. A proposed amendment to the OLA would help ensure a landowner’s responsibility is fair and reasonable if someone on the property without permission is injured or dies.

Rural Manitobans have been concerned about crime for years, said Ralph Groening, president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM).

“We’ve heard these kinds of concerns over the last number of years, which we’ve shared with the government and the RCMP, who do the best they can with the limited resources they have,” he told Farms.com.

Most of the calls AMM receives with respect to rural crime is property related.

“A lot of the time, people are calling about theft,” Groening said. “We also hear about equipment being vandalized or hay bales being vandalized. People are targeting rural communities because they are miles away” from police stations or neigbours.

In 2017, Manitoba’s overall rural crime rate was 42 per cent higher than its urban crime rate. And the rural property crime rate was five per cent higher than property crimes in urban areas, Statistics Canada said.

AMM will be keeping a close eye on how the provincial government defines regulations on trespassing.

“We know it won’t solve the problem, but I think it puts in place a set of rules that allow the police to act in a more effective manner,” Groening said.

A potential change to the ADA could designate livestock farms as biosecurity areas that can restrict entrants.

Strengthening biosecurity protocols on livestock operations can help ensure a safe food supply.

“Our goal is to ensure that food produced in Manitoba is safe for human consumption and that food safety will never be compromised,” Blaine Pedersen, Manitoba’s ag and resource development minister, said in a statement.

Farms.com has reached out to Keystone Agricultural Producers for comment.

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