Monday, November 9, 2009

Clean to the Core: a safer inner city, and more

Calgary’s Downtown safety initiative, Clean to the Core, is paying huge dividends according a recent Calgary Police Service report.

At the annual review of the Clean to the Core and Centre City Safety Impact Team (CCSIT) on Nov. 5, it was announced that downtown crime has reduced significantly.

The report shows that from January to August, crime against people in downtown dropped from 655 during the same months in 2008 to 543 in 2009.

"When Clean to the Core was created three years ago, we were experiencing issues around safety and cleanliness in Calgary's Centre City," said Lorna Wallace, Centre City Implementation Project Manager. "Now, thanks to collaboration and the hard work of over 30 dedicated partners, including The City and many businesses, workers and citizens, we're seeing the positive results that only come about when we work together.”

It’s this holistic approach that has lead to a drop in crime in 2009 compared with the previous three years.

“We’ve tried to break down silos and work constantly together with our partners to work toward a greater Centre City, “said Wallace.

Since its inception in 2006, the Clean to the Core program has added 68 downtown beat officers, 29 bylaw officers, 10 Calgary Transit peace officers and 20 EMS personnel at a cost of a bout $4 million annually. These resources coupled with 16 surveillance cameras installed in three downtown locations and improved C-train lighting equates to a price tag of just over $16 million to date.

At the annual review, Mayor Dave Bronconnier told the crowd that the budget will include another million dollars in funding next year.

The Clean to the Core initiative also includes keeping Centre City’s streets clean. In 2009, Tomkins Park Automated Public Toilet has received about 40,000 uses, 727 kilometres of sidewalks have been swept of almost 11,000 kilograms of debris and 50,000 kilograms of newspapers are estimated to be recycled in the core with new paper recycle bins.

Over 10,000 graffiti tags have also been removed.

“The Centre City is a great incubator for new ideas,” said Wallace, using the successful litter and cigarette-butt bins being used in the core as an example.

***Graph shows property crime's drop from Sept. 2008 to Aug. 2009 compared to the previous three-year average. Social Disorder and Person crime also trend downward.

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