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Regina police report increase in arson cases

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Regina police report increase in arson cases

A firefighter from Regina extinguishes a fire in a garbage can. (FirevideosFD/YouTube)

There has been a significant increase in arson in the Queen City and police are working to address the problem.

Crime statistics released by the Regina Police Service for April show 73 arsons for that month. In March, only 29 cases of arson were reported.

“Our investigations have shown that these are mostly garbage and waste bins,” said police chief Farooq Sheikh.

Sheikh described the increase as “significant.”

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During the first four months of 2024, there were a total of 144 arsons in the city, a 69 percent increase from the 59 arsons reported during the same period in 2023.

Sheikh said joint efforts were needed to solve the problem.

“We need to work with the city, the fire department and the public to find ways to reduce opportunistic crimes, because many of the garbage can thieves are opportunistic.”

He said possible solutions – such as additional video surveillance in high-risk areas – would be decided depending on the location of the fire.

“If the cause is the lack of police presence, then we need to look into it,” Sheikh said.

“If the reason is that there is no video surveillance, we need to look into it.”

Sheikh stressed that the police cannot solve the problem alone.

“We need to work with our partners,” he said. “This is something we need to do and something we all need to improve together to contain these fires in particular.”

But despite his appeal for a cooperative approach, Sheikh expressed confidence that the police would succeed in reducing the number of arson attacks.

“Whenever we have had serious arson crimes involving property crimes such as residential buildings or churches, we have had good success rates in solving these crimes and arresting the perpetrators,” said the police chief.