Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Warning" stickers put on downtown pay phones

People conducting illegal business deals on inner city pay phones may be met by "WARNING" stickers as a reminder that pay phones are for public use and not to be misused for illegal activities - and if the phones are being used for illegal purposes, police may obtain a warrant applying for the call records to investigate drug-dealing activities.

Beginning 2009 July 15, warning stickers are being placed on 30 public telephones in 10 neighbourhoods downtown. Citizens are encouraged to call 3-1-1 if they have concerns.

A number of problem phone booths have already been removed due to rampant illicit use or poor site lines. The City is, however, working with TELUS and the protective services agencies and community to maintain telephones in the public realm that are available for both tourists and citizens.

This pilot project is an initiative from Clean to the Core, Focus on Safety, which is an "all fronts" multi-business unit program to increase pride in Calgary's Centre City.

To date, there have been eight telephone booths removed because of the high crime volume. Citywide, Calgary has 168 public telephones.

This editorial in the Calgary Sun from 2008 aptly explains why the City is taking a tough stance on public telephone crime.

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