The Calgary Police Service confirmed yesterday a 91 per cent decrease in calls to the Cecil Hotel property since it was closed by the city in December because of public safety issues.
Mayor Dave Bronconnier attributed the decrease to the fact that, without the Cecil, many criminals have lost their home base.
“We’re seeing a dramatic decrease (in crime) in the East Village area as a result of really two things. One is the closure of the Cecil Hotel, which really was the magnet for the drug activity that was taking place in the downtown,” Bronconnier said.
But, Linda McLean from the Calgary Drop-In Centre said that those criminals may have moved their home base to the streets near the Drop-In Centre.
“Now it’s just happening outside,” McLean said. “We don’t want that migration.”
Police Chief Rick Hanson said police realize that only part of the problem has been solved.
“We are not naive enough to say we’ve eliminated that problem,” Hanson said. “We’ve dealt with a particular focus of that problem and will continue to deal with it in an effective way.”
The Cecil Hotel, notorious for violence, prostitution and drug activity, had its business licence revoked by the city on Dec. 9. City council approved the $10.9-million purchase of the hotel on Dec. 16, with plans to tear it down and possibly replace it with a parkade.
Bronconnier said this is a step towards the city’s goal of eradicating crime and drug activity in the downtown core.
“The strong endorsement of city council to buy and have the Cecil Hotel closed will be viewed much later, along with the redevelopment (of the East Village), as a very positive step for safety in the downtown,” he said.