Winnipeg is on track to break the homicide record set in 2011, and some believe methamphetamine is to blame.

The Manitoba capital averages 22 murders per year. That’s how many there were in 2018.

This year is only half done, and the city has already registered 24 homicides, including three in less than a week earlier this month. A man was gunned down near a school, a homeless man was assaulted and killed, and a man was stabbed to death in what police called an unprovoked and random attack.

The record number of homicides, 41, was set in 2011.

At least six of the murders this year have been directly linked to methamphetamine.

However, Winnipeg Police Service can’t say for certain whether meth is to blame for the increase.

Const. Jay Murray told reporters there isn’t a common denominator between the deaths. “They’re all very different in their own regards,” he said.

Mayor Brian Bowman said drug use appears to be growing, and “it is affecting property crimes and we know it’s affecting violent crimes and homicides.”

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said recently that emergency room visits related to meth increased by 1,700 per cent between January 2013, when there were 10, and December 2017, when there were 180.

A drug task force was created in December to analyze the problem. It could report back as early as next week.

Whatever the cause, officers say the homicides have stretched them thin. They’ve logged more than 9,000 hours of overtime.

Const. Rob Carver said that there is no one sitting around waiting for the next call. “It’s all hands on deck.”