Manitoba Liquor Mart employees are worried a lot about a large number of thefts.
Now they more often ask not whether the robbery will occur but when it will happen. Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries says it is working to solve the problem, however, now there are no changes.
One of the employees said that the behaviour of the robbers goes beyond all limits. They smash entire windows, they empty stores. Sometimes, robbers threaten employees with a knife or pepper spray. Thieves even used broken bottles as weapons.
As the official data show, the number of thefts increased by approximately 300 percent. That led not only to large financial losses but also to a deterioration in the mental health of the workers and customers who were inside during the robberies.
Manitoba Liquor Mart employees said that a high level of stress, anxiety, anger, and depression are now a chronic condition for them. They no longer remember when they came to work without fear for their health.
Andrea Kowal, MLL's director of communications and corporate affairs, agrees that such a number of incidents is very dangerous for people and their health. Kowal reported that more than 200 employees had left Manitoba Liquor Mart during the last year.
The woman added that Liquor & Lotteries has various resources to help employees in difficult situations, including on-site trauma support and counselling for employees and their families.
MLL is now looking for additional ways to reduce the number of robberies and thefts. However, the corporation does not cease to repeat that the personnel and customers of the store should not intervene if an incident occurs. Safety is paramount. No human life is worth the stolen bottles of alcohol.
Andrea Kowal also added that more than 80 arrests involving Liquor Mart incidents have been registered since autumn 2018. MLL uses the most advanced video surveillance systems and last month hired special duty Winnipeg police officers to be in some locations.
The corporation considers all options to reduce the number of robberies and hopes that the staff will begin to feel safe again very soon.