A Red Deer apartment building owner who is fed-up with crime wants the city to light up his back alley parking stalls.
Terry Welty said tenants cars are constantly being broken into behind his building at 4021-50A St. and personal items stolen. As well, pad locks have been forced on his backyard sheds and two abandoned stolen vehicles were once left in his building’s parking stalls.
His 18-suite Ambassador Apartments is located right across the back alley from the Little Ice Cream and Soda Shop, as well as a consignment clothing store and an artist studio on Michener Hill.
Because of the large number of cars and trucks usually parked in that lane, Welty said “it’s easy for thieves to weave in and out of vehicles. Footprints and bicycle tracks prove this point…
“Our video surveillance, extra locks and security dog have only prompted thieves to now cover their faces ” — even during daylight hours, he added.
Welty asked the city to put extra lights on a power pole behind his building, but was told the city won’t do this.
While some commercial alleys in the downtown have lights, Jim Jorgensen, manager of City of Red Deer’s Electric Light and Power department, said he knows of no alleys that are lit up by the city outside the downtown.
Welty thinks it is time to reconsider the city’s policy on back lane lighting, since crime from the downtown is now spilling over into his area and other boundary neighbourhoods.
He has faced many break-ins, thefts and vandalism. This summer, two young people with a crowbar entered the open foyer, pried out the metal row of mailboxes, and took off with them. He assumed they wanted the letters inside either for potential cheques, or for identity theft purposes.
Welty said he had to replace the mailboxes at a cost of $2,500. He now locks both the front door and interior foyer doors. He also now has security cameras.
At one point a thief, who likely followed a tenant into the building, used a crowbar to get into the locked laundry room. Welty said he then pried off the entire top section of the washer and drier in order to carry off the coin boxes, which couldn’t be otherwise removed.
The laundry machines were ruined, said Welty, who also had doors to janitorial cupboards wrecked by a thief.
While he believes crime in Red Deer had been bad for about 15 years, Welty believes it’s grown worse recently with drug use. He recognizes back lane lighting is only a “partial and temporary solution” to the larger crime and opioid addiction issues, but he believes it’s better than nothing.
If the city doesn’t want to pay for lights, he said he’s willing to buy some motion-sensor-activated lights, but needs permission to attach them to the power poles near his parking lot.
Jorgensen said anything added to power poles could interfere with access to the transmission system, so is not allowed. But he noted Welty is free to erect his own lights on his own property.