In its ongoing efforts to help build a vibrant downtown and support downtown businesses, the Edmonton Downtown Business Association announces the official launch of their Edmonton Downtown Night Patrol, a new initiative that aims to improve nighttime safety and support other public safety efforts through data collection.
Operating seven days a week from 12:30am to 8:30am, two Night Patrol vehicles comprised of a security professional from Backwoods Security and a peer support worker from Hiregood are conducting continuous mobile patrols of downtown streets, alleys, and public spaces. The first-year pilot phase of the initiative is being funded by the City of Edmonton under the Downtown Vibrancy Fund.
“A bright and positive future for our downtown and the growth of Edmonton’s economy depends on our ability to maintain a safe downtown business environment. As a city, we cannot afford to have small business owners, workers, visitors, and residents feeling unsafe and facing the costly impacts of vandalism and other crime and disorder,” says Puneeta McBryan, Executive Director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association.
“We’re launching this Night Patrol service as a measure to improve nighttime safety by placing ‘eyes and ears’ on the street, collecting data about crime and disorder, and attempting to reduce property damage and other crime. Public safety and crime prevention have never been part of the EDBA’s core mandate, but given the current circumstances, we felt that this was a necessary albeit exceptional initiative to design and implement. We’ve heard from countless business owners, property managers, workers, visitors, and residents that overnight crime is taking a major toll. All too often, it’s our small business owners who are repeatedly targeted and facing major financial and emotional burdens from vandalism and theft.”
The EDBA undertook a competitive bid process for selecting the two partners. Backwoods Security was chosen in part as an act of economic reconciliation, as the company is owned by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, and Hiregood was chosen in part because they are the social enterprise arm of Boyle Street Community Services, who have a strong reputation for supporting our most vulnerable neighbours.
Night Patrol’s innovative and integrated approach of pairing a security professional with a peer-support worker is designed to protect property and improve public safety, while also addressing the multiple complex underlying social issues.
Over the course of each night, Night Patrol’s approach will:
- Conduct physical and visual checks on business storefronts, buildings, and downtown public assets
- Provide mobile patrol of downtown streets, alleys, and public spaces
- Work to prevent and disrupt break-ins, property damage, and vandalism and call law enforcement to the scene when appropriate
- Connect those at risk on the streets with appropriate community resources
- Deescalate potentially dangerous situations and call law enforcement to the scene when appropriate
- Track, collect, analyze, and report on relevant data and metrics on property damage, break-ins, vandalism, and other business-related incidents.
While Night Patrol branded vehicles will hit the streets officially today, the program was first deployed in January 2023 in an initial prototyping phase to allow the EDBA and the on-the-ground partners to test and refine the model, collect and analyze data, and make any necessary adjustments to routes, reporting, operating guidelines, etc. Preliminary results show a higher number of incidents taking place on weekends and between the hours of 1 am to 3am. A full report will be released next month.
About the Edmonton Downtown Business Association
As the lead activator and advocate shaping Downtown Edmonton, we work on behalf of our member businesses to support and deliver a vibrant and remarkable Downtown experience, rooted in inclusion, diversity, prosperity, and resilience.
About Backwoods Security
Backwoods Security is a comprehensive, solutions-oriented security firm owned wholly by Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation.
About Boyle Street Community Services/Hiregood
Boyle Street Community Services provides a variety of intervention and prevention services, grounded in harm reduction philosophy and harm reduction, which support our clients through crises and address the leading causes of homelessness. Hiregood is a social enterprise owned by Boyle Street Community Services that employs people who face barriers to the formal job market.
For more information and to arrange an interview, contact, Tracy Hyatt. Director, Marketing and Communications, Edmonton Downtown Business Association, firstname.lastname@example.org, 780-426-8579