As the weather continues to improve, more and more people are spending time in the downtown core.
That’s good news in terms of revitalization, but bad news when it comes to crime.
To help fight the growing problem, city police announced plans yesterday for an increase in police officer visibility and downtown foot patrols for the next few months.
“As the weather gets warmer and the summer festival season comes, we want to gear up with more resources,” said David Veitch, superintendent of Downtown Division. “It’s not just about the Churchill Square area, it kind of radiates out from there on to Jasper Avenue as well.”
Last December police doubled the beats in the area around Churchill Square and the Stanley Milner Library. They went from 10 beats in the downtown area to 20 beats.
“In that given area there’s probably about six beat foot patrol members on at a time,” Veitch said.
According to the superintendent about 30 per cent of all violence in the city occurs in the downtown division.
“About 30-40 per cent of our work in the downtown division is around violence,” he said.
Veitch hopes the increase in police presence will help reduce the workload.
“I see this problem getting better,” he said. “We’ve got some pretty good strategies and people committed to the work.”
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