The City of Red Deer hopes to tap the brain power of local residents for ideas on how to tackle crime and improve community safety.
Mayor Tara Veer announced Monday that six community meetings will be held next month where Red Deerians will be encouraged to share their thoughts on the role the community can play in reducing crime and “social disorder.”
The first meeting takes place next Monday, and they will run through Nov. 15 at locations throughout the city.
Veer said the public meetings are part of an ongoing strategy to address residents’ — and council’s — top priority.
“We are doing everything that we can within the municipal powers, authorities and levers that we have. However, we need the support of our citizens in order to realize a fully safe community.”
The goal of the meetings is to hear residents’ opinions on several fronts, including their take on top priorities.
“We want to also hear from Red Deerians about ideas and immediate strategies and solutions to help us in addressing those issues,” she said.
It is not all about what the city can do for residents, but what residents themselves can do, said the mayor.
“Citizens often ask us what can we possibly do in order to help build a safer Red Deer.”
Council has already responded to community concerns. Last month, council approved adding a sixth dedicated RCMP officer, as well as two peace officers, to the downtown crime-fighting team.
That is on top of an additional police officer focused on child abuse approved in January. At the same time, council set aside money for two more Mounties and two civilian police support staff for 2020.
The city also continues to work with the federal and provincial governments on other challenges, such as a local shortage of Crown prosecutors.
Premier Jason Kenney has announced plans to hire an additional 50 Crown prosecutors and $178 million over four years for a new justice centre in Red Deer.
City manager Allan Seabrooke said all 1,700 municipal workers will become part of the effort to make the city safer.
“We are re-engaging every staff person in this community to tackle this on our behalf from administration,” said Seabrooke.
To streamline community feedback, a dedicated phone number will be introduced so residents have a single number to call to comment or ask about every aspect of community safety.
“We now have a number of different phone numbers the public can call. We want to make that simpler and more streamlined,” he said.
The meeting schedule is:
• Nov. 4 — 1 p.m., Northside Community Centre YMCA
• Nov. 5 — 10 a.m., Red Deer College in Four Centres Building
• Nov. 6 — 6 p.m. Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School cafetaria
• Nov. 7 — 6 p.m., Eastview Middle School gymnasium
• Nov. 13 — 6 p.m., St. Francis of Assisi Middle School gymnasium
• Nov. 15 — 10 a.m., Radisson Hotel, 6500 67th St.