Red Deer Downtown Business Association knows all too well about break-ins after its office was struck multiple times in the summer.
“It’s the first time we were ever broken into and we were broken into three times in a period of six or seven weeks,” said DBA executive director Amanda Gould on Friday.
“I know the impact it has on an organization.”
She said the criminals who broke into the office were methodical and organized. Unfortunately break-ins are a cost of doing business anywhere, but it’s still frustrating and right now the downtown is experiencing a rash of crime.
“Crime has been a bit of an ongoing challenge for the entire city, but there does seem to be a lot of focus on our downtown businesses because there’s just a concentration of businesses in the downtown core.”
Early Thursday morning there was another local smash and grab at The Bistro on Gaetz. LV’s Vinyl Cafe was also recently hit.
Gould said the downtown has not seen an increase in vacancies due to crime, but newer businesses are especially vulnerable.
“They need every penny they’re earning as well so it could, if it’s early enough in the start up process, affect their ability to carry on operating.”
But businesses need to do their part by having an alarm and camera system so it’s not easy for criminals, she said.
Downtown businesses are invited to a DBA meeting on crime on Jan. 9 at 10 a.m. at The Bistro on Gaetz, 4810 Gaetz Ave. City representatives will be there and RCMP have been invited.
Gould said the DBA is working with police who are aware of the downtown’s problems and have increased patrols in the area.
About six months ago the DBA board, which is made up business owners, considered hiring security to walk the downtown but decided it should be handled by the police instead, she said.
The DBA offers subsidized programs to members and will continue to advocate to those with the ability to change things,” Gould said.
“It’s an ongoing challenge. We’re working on it all the time. We know our businesses are suffering. We know Red Deer is suffering. But the DBA itself can’t stop people from breaking in. We need to be supported and it’s the DBA’s job to make sure we’re advocating to be supported and we’re doing it.”