MEDICINE HAT, AB -- A new initiative led by the Medicine Hat Police is getting a positive response. The downtown patrol initiative was launched on June 5, meant to run through to September 13.
It was launched because of an increase of nuisance calls in the downtown area, and as an effort to increase communication with downtown businesses and residents.
“We were looking for a balance from the downtown foot patrol unit between engagement with the community, enforcement on provincial statue’s or on bylaw offences,” says Inspector Brent Secondiak with Medicine Hat Police Service.
Four members of the Priority Street Crimes Unit have been working one day shift and three night shifts in conjunction with the High Visibility Response Team.
The police revealed some numbers in relation to the patrols. 177 citizens and 74 businesses have been contacted, and asked about their perspective on the downtown area.
“We’re happy thus far, we’ve received a lot of information anecdotally from the community that seems very positive,” says Secondiak. “They’re happy that we’re down there more frequently and hopefully we deter crime and increase the safety downtown with the presence of the police.”
A total of 22 provincial tickets, and four bylaw tickets were also issued.
Police also conducted 10 outstanding warrant arrests, and two criminal code arrests, one for obstruction, and one for causing a disturbance.
Secondiak says the project has likely given a sense of security to those visiting downtown.
“A lot of different groups visit downtown, a lot of different families,” says Insp. Secondiak. “I frequent down there so it’s good to engage with all sorts of different groups and I think just the sheer presence of a uniformed police officer brings a little bit of satisfaction that they’re around the corner if they’re needed.”
At this point, it’s unknown if the program will continue in 2020.
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