DOWNTOWN SASKATOON SAFETY MESSAGE
March 11, 2020 – Recent high-profile events have shone a spotlight on the question of safety in Downtown Saskatoon, the heart of our city. Downtown Saskatoon is proud of the vibrant, dynamic and diverse district that has evolved over the past number of years. We want to be welcoming to all people and accept that a growing city has challenges.
For many years, we have been working with the City of Saskatoon, Saskatoon Police Service, the Province of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Saskatoon Tribal Council, other stakeholders, and The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. to build a safe Downtown for all. We understand issues of mental health, addictions, and homelessness are complex, and we are grateful to everyone in our community who works with those who need support.
These complex challenges will not be solved overnight. But we can do something right now – today – to ensure that ALL PEOPLE feel safer in Downtown Saskatoon. Now is the time for action.
- We urge the Province of Saskatchewan to work with its partners to address immediate safety and security needs at The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. – for the safety and wellbeing of those who use these services, and for its neighbours.
- We urge the Province of Saskatchewan, and any applicable stakeholders, to conduct an immediate assessment of programming, funding, and location of The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc. to determine if the current way of providing services is generating intended outcomes. Part of the assessment should analyze whether the facility can provide the varied nature of services it presently does.
- We urge the Saskatoon Police Service to immediately deploy more officers into Downtown Saskatoon.
- We urge the Saskatoon Police Service to develop a comprehensive Downtown policing strategy complete with tactics and actions to deal with the realities of policing a Downtown district. We believe the plan must place community safety as the top priority.
- We urge the Saskatoon Police Service to model a Downtown policing strategy after the Centreline Downtown Safety initiative started by the Winnipeg Police Service in 2016, which includes some of the following goals and measures:
- Improve public perception by focusing resources on public nuisance behaviour that is detrimental to the enjoyment of public spaces.
- Police resources assigned ownership of a geographical area within Downtown.
- Support problem-oriented policing by tackling the cause of the problem, yet ensuring that enforcement is top of mind when dealing with district issues that presently exist.
- Incorporate performance metrics that include perceived safety in the Downtown area.
- Encourage foot patrol officers to spend time on Transit buses as part of their daily duties to enhance public and transit personnel safety on Transit buses, and to increase both visibility and enforcement in the Transit Mall.
- Work with the Downtown Saskatoon Business Improvement District and private property owners to develop a surveillance camera registration program to deter problems and assist investigations.
- We urge Downtown businesses and all citizens to report incidents that require Police attention. The Police need to know where incidents are occurring so they can intervene, act, and analyze trends.
We will also do our part by continuing to support the work of the Community Support Program. Through street outreach, they connect with vulnerable community members affected by mental health, addictions, and homelessness.
We have much work to do to address the challenges, and that work will continue. But right now – today – we can do something to improve the quality of life of every person who lives, works, or plays in our Downtown. We urge that action be taken now.
ABOUT DOWNTOWN SASKATOON
Downtown Saskatoon strives to promote, shape and enhance Saskatoon’s Downtown as a destination for residential, retail, cultural and business development.
It creates, promotes and programs Downtown experiences that attract Saskatoon residents and visitors from across the province, country and world. Downtown Saskatoon’s work is overseen by a board of district representatives and supported through a levy on commercial properties in the area.
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For more information, contact:
Downtown Saskatoon Business Improvement District