Hundreds of weapons seized at downtown Winnipeg library last year

One year after airport-style security measures were implemented at Winnipeg’s downtown library, the city says hundreds of potentially dangerous items were seized, but critics of the beefed-up security say the seizures don’t paint a full picture.

The City of Winnipeg said it confiscated 378 items, including tools and blades, from people trying to get inside the Millennium Library between Feb. 24 and Dec. 31, 2019.

Ed Cuddy, manager of library services, said prior to the implementation of the security measures that the enhancements are to keep staff and patrons safe.

Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Winnipeg and member of Millennium for All, said much of what was confiscated are everyday items.

“We could check anybody’s bag and find something that could be conceived or re-branded as a weapon. There were a lot of scissors in that pile, screwdrivers,” she said.

In the first six weeks of the new security measures, between Feb. 24 and April 5, 2019, a total of 171 items were seized.

The top three items were knives (51), scissors (49) and screwdrivers (29). Other items included loose razor blades and saws.

The amount of seized items dropped steadily since that time.

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