Crime reduction strategy making headway downtown: Tod

Red Deer’s chief of police is confident that new strategies to combat problems related to crime in downtown Red Deer are making a difference.

Red Deer’s chief of police is confident that new strategies to combat problems related to crime in downtown Red Deer are making a difference.

RCMP Supt. Scott Tod said on Wednesday that he measures that belief on two things: complaints from the public and businesses are decreasing, and marginalized citizens are telling officers that things are better.

One of the first things he was made aware of when he arrived in Red Deer nine months ago was concern about downtown Red Deer.

“There was some lead-up time for myself being new here to not just listen to those complaints but to find out what had we done in the past and make sure that our resourcing and our own internal structure was aligned to start addressing that.

“I made some changes and restructured a few units and gave them a different mandate. That takes some time but I think the community response team, with the support of the uniformed members, and ALERT, and my plainclothes members, collectively have had a positive impact downtown.”

Tod said Red Deer City RCMP increased enforcement, visibility and interaction in the downtown.

“It’s a crime reduction strategy initiated specific to the downtown core to address the needs that were made very clear to me by the community, by business owners and mayor and council and the city manager, upon my arrival.

“The result has been that I’m certainly not getting as many downtown businesses and even just citizen complaints about what’s going on downtown. I haven’t been getting nearly as many as when I arrived in May.”

He also said “officers — who are downtown regularly and involved in this strategy — are hearing from the people downtown, those who are marginalized people, that things are a lot quieter downtown and that a lot of the troublemakers have decided to move on and are not in the downtown core as often or prevalently.

“Part of our role downtown is to protect those (marginalized) people too. They’re very easy victims.”

But the problems haven’t gone away by any means, he said.

“It’s quieter in terms of the drug dealing out in the open. Some of the violence and some of the people who are involved in that aren’t being seen because there’s been too much attention paid to them downtown.

“Certainly when you undertake these initiatives and these strategies there always will be displacement. That’s part of our job is to be alive to that … so we’re directed to where they’re going and sustain the presence and the enforcement and the relationship-building as these people displace and move on.”

He said enforcement is only one piece of the city’s strategy for the downtown core to be a healthy community.

“We need to also partner up for prevention and also look at what services are provided in what parts of the city. But those are city initiatives and it’s their decisions to make. We can only inform them as to what we’re seeing and what we’re doing and look for opportunities to partner with them.”

Council recently approved budgeting for six more police officers, plus support staff.

“We have an idea of where we are going to allocate the majority of those resources but things could change by the time those positions actually arrive and I don’t know when that will happen. Its a very complex staffing process. There could be a change of priorities within our community at that time. I have to … remain flexible to be able to resource our staffing levels to address those too,” Tod said.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Health Services declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Revera Aspen Ridge on Feb. 1. (Photo by Advocate staff)
Two COVID deaths linked to Revera seniors residence in Red Deer

35 active COVID cases at seniors residence

Red Deer musician Lorry Boschman has written a song about love in the time of COVID-19. Proceeds from his single, Romance during a Pandemic, will be donated to the local United Way. (Contributed photo).
Local musician records a song about love in the time of COVID-19 — for charity

Lorry Boschman will donate some proceeds to the United Way

Preliminary data shows Alberta’s suicide rate declined in 2020 — but some mental health critics say it’s too early to draw any conclusions since more dire pandemic impacts are only now being felt. (metrocreative stock)
Alberta’s suicide rate seems to have declined in 2020

But some experts say it’s too early to credit the pandemic

The union representing workers at the Olymel meat processing plant in Red Deer confirmed the death of a worker on Wednesday. (Advocate file photo)
Union confirms death of worker from Olymel plant

An investigation by the UFCW 401 local has confirmed another death connected… Continue reading

The courthouse in Iqaluit, Nunavut, is shown on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. A Nunavut judge has granted a mining company's request for an injunction against hunters who protested at its site for a week last month, halting the mine's operations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Emma Tranter
Nunavut judge grants injunction against hunters who protested at mine site

Nunavut judge grants injunction against hunters who protested at mine site

A woman walks towards the entrance of the TransAlta headquarters building in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Calgary-based power generator TransAlta Utilities Ltd. says it has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Alberta utility TransAlta vows to be carbon neutral by 2050 as it notes $167M loss

Alberta utility TransAlta vows to be carbon neutral by 2050 as it notes $167M loss

Pedestrians walk past Shell Canada's headquarters before a news conference in Calgary on August 26, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Shell Canada employing ‘agile teams’ to power energy transition and reduce emissions

Shell Canada employing ‘agile teams’ to power energy transition and reduce emissions

A sign board in Toronto shows the closing number for the TSX on Thursdsay October 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Investor frenzy accelerates Canada stock market activity in February, TMX reports

Investor frenzy accelerates Canada stock market activity in February, TMX reports

Falling Canadian dollar coins or loonies are pictured in North Vancouver, B.C., Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
North American stock markets fall as technology takes hit from higher bond yields

North American stock markets fall as technology takes hit from higher bond yields

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservative MP David Sweet joins chorus calling for end to COVID-19 restrictions

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has joined the chorus of voices calling… Continue reading

The Onslow Belmont Fire Brigade is seen in Lower Onslow, N.S., Wednesday, April 22, 2020. The RCMP says two officers who fired towards a civilian and another RCMP officer during last year’s mass shooting will remain on administrative duties until internal inquiries are completed .THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
N.S. RCMP who shot at firehall on administrative duty during internal reviews of case

HALIFAX — The RCMP says two officers who fired towards a civilian… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. Efforts to increase Canada's ability to produce vaccines is among over 100 projects receiving new federal money. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Over 100 new projects to get $518 million in federal research funding

OTTAWA — Efforts to boost Canada’s ability to produce vaccines are among… Continue reading

Most Read