New strategy aims to make Edmonton safer as community calls for more EPS officers
New strategy aims to make Edmonton safer as community calls for more EPS officers
Community members and councillors weighed in on a newly proposed safety and well-being plan crafted by administration to make Edmonton the safest city in Canada by the end of the decade.
The Community Safety and Well-Being Strategy is a city-wide approach that administration believes will better connect and coordinate law enforcement, emergency services, social agencies, and nonprofits that respond to incidents or provide aid.
"This roadmap, if we get it right, will allow our city to be stronger and more stable," said Andre Corbould, Edmonton city manager.
"It can give all Edmontonians a chance to improve their quality of life, it improves livability and cohesion, enhances economic competitiveness and productivity, and will build a more resilient Edmonton," Corbould added. "At its core, the strategy envisions that each person in Edmonton feels like they belong."
Some of the recommendations in the plan include expanind the number and use of crisis diversion and alternative policing teams, pivoting to an integrated 911 emergency call evaluation and dispatch model, and investing in "urgently" needed priorities for community safety.
Each of the recommendations addresses seven pillars, including anti-racism, reconciliation, crime prevention and crisis intervention, promoting safe and inclusive spaces, and pathways in and out of poverty.
If approved, the framework will have an overall dashboard that monitors the progress the city is making toward each goal and create an aggregate "community safety and well-being score" for the city.
"Using this dashboard, we are prepared to publicly report how we are moving the needle on this file and to create a shared understanding of our progress," Corbould said.
The plan stems from public hearings held at city hall in June 2020, the Safer for All report tabled last year, and combines recommendations from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Plan, the city's anti-racism and problem properties strategies.
Within the strategy, city administration is asking council to consider investing more than $8.4 million to fund 10 different initiatives that range from microgrants for social agencies and community partners to initiating work to design a future Indigenous-led shelter building.
"These business cases will help to bring the strategy to life and implement action on the ground," Corbould said.
Council's community and public services committee will continue to discuss the strategy on Tuesday and Wednesday. If approved by the committee, it will go before city council in the coming weeks.
'PROPER SUPPORT' TO EPS NEEDED
Puneeta McBryan, Downtown Business Association executive director, told committee members she "fully" supports the strategy but says there needs to be more visible law enforcement officers in the city for the strategy to work.
"(That helps) deter harmful behaviour and holds individuals accountable for harmful and criminal behaviour," McBryan said, adding there also needs to be more spaces for individuals in crisis, particularly for drug users.
"Without those two things being addressed, frankly yesterday, we're in a very challenging situation in our core business districts," she said.
McBryan said downtown businesses see a "really high volume" of serious incidents, including verbal and physical abuse, thefts, and vandalism.
"Downtown and our community is feeling like a political football," she added. "It's really exhausting, and I don't personally know the answer, but I know what we need."
Haruun Ali, a University of Alberta student and community advocate, said the city needs to find inclusive ways to deal with security concerns.
"No one should feel unsafe in the downtown core, but at the same time too, we need to recognize that some members of the community have had harmful interactions with EPS, and they don't feel safe interacting with them," Ali said.
Joseph Gebran, a local entrepreneur who owns and operates four McDonald's restaurants throughout the city, agreed with McBryan, saying it is a "wonderful" strategy, but "proper support" to the Edmonton Police Service is needed.
"Throughout my lifetime of experience in my home of Edmonton, I have never known it to be a place where safety has become an overriding concern, that is until I began doing business in some of these areas, especially in the Kingsway areas," Gebran said.
"I know that the city, city council, (and) all of us are frustrated and would like to find a better way forward but let's remember, between the short term and the medium term there's the immediate now," he added.
At Gebran's Kingsway location, he told councillors that in the first three months of 2022, the fast food restaurant placed more than 360 calls for "urgent support" to EPS.
"This is far too many," he said. "It's not safe. These are Edmontonians, whether they be my customers or my staff, that are being threatened by what is happening in the neighbourhood."
He asked council to consider the downstream effects its decisions have on Edmonton businesses, citing the closures of washrooms at LRT stations and transit centres.
"I know keeping them safe and clean comes at a cost, but when they were unilaterally closed the problem was not solved," Gebran said. "It was instead immediately displaced upon unsuspecting surrounding businesses, many of which are even less equipped to deal with these issues than is the city. All the vandalism, danger, and safety issues literally moved to nearby businesses."
"People say we don't need the police, we don't need beat cops," said Stacy Zaidi, a Remedy Cafe co-owner and Downtown Recovery Coalition member.
"I need them," Zaidi said. "All the businesses downtown need them. We need that presence."
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson
A previous version of this article cited recommendations from the Safer for All Task Force, not the Community Safety and Well-Being Strategy.
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The U.S. Supreme Court has ended the nation's constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years in a decision by its conservative majority to overturn Roe v. Wade. Friday's outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.
Canadian politicians are responding to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to end constitutional protections for abortion, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling the news 'horrific.'
Canadian advocates are cautioning against complacency regarding abortions protections in place in Canada, after the U.S. Supreme court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday.
With the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to end constitutional protections for abortion, 26 states are likely to ban abortions; 13 of which are expected to enact bans against the medical procedure immediately.
A Member of Parliament from rural Alberta went live on Facebook Friday to celebrate a United States Supreme Court vote to end constitutional protections for abortion.
Two people were killed and 14 wounded on Saturday in a shooting at a nightclub and in nearby streets in Norway's capital Oslo, Norwegian police said.
Miners working in a gold field in Yukon have uncovered what is being called the 'most complete' mummified woolly mammoth found to date in North America, officials announced on Friday.
An Ontario driver is speaking out after a shovel struck her windshield while she was driving on the highway.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has unveiled his cabinet for the 43rd Parliament and there are some big changes to the front bench.
Four convicted multiple murderers in Alberta will be offered the chance to plead their cases to a parole board much earlier after series of appeal decisions on Friday.
After a decision that has sent shockwaves throughout the world about a woman's right to choose, Alberta's Health Minister Jason Copping says there won't be any change here despite what happens south of the border.
The Calgary Seed Library is tackling issues surrounding food security and sustainability with its weekly seed exchange.
A woman at the centre of a child abuse case took the stand in her own trial. She told court why her nephews were found in an empty room, locked shut with rope.
In the town of Kerrobert Sask., with a population of just under 1000 people, a community came out for an event a century in the making.
Naomi and Al Hawkins say they were in “shock” and “alarmed” when they heard that the man who took care of their son at a group home in Hepburn, Sask. was facing several sexual assault charges.
'A powerful, photogenic storm': More than 20 tornado warnings issued during stormy Saskatchewan night
Saskatchewan's skies lived up to its moniker Thursday night, creating some picturesque storm clouds.
The Regina Board of Education is projecting a $2.5 million deficit for the 2022-23 school year, with rising costs neutralizing funding increases.
Planning for the new General Hospital Parkade project is continuing, after no historical burials were found following investigation into anomalies identified by ground penetrating radar.
An Amber Alert has been issued by Cape Breton Regional Police for a missing teenager.
The inquiry into Nova Scotia’s 2020 mass shooting, says four pages of handwritten notes that sparked a political firestorm in Ottawa this week, weren’t immediately submitted when subpoenaed by its investigators.
'It’s in shambles': RCMP 'architects of own demise,' says criminologist after complaints in N.B. and N.S.
After a week of criticism and anger at the Mass Casualty Commission in Nova Scotia, and outcry in a rural area of New Brunswick, there are questions about the RCMP’s role in community policing.
Office workers are returning to Toronto but foot traffic on Mondays and Fridays hasn’t bounced back. Will it ever?
More people are commuting to offices downtown than at any point since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but the recovery hasn’t been equal across the board, with both GO Transit and the TTC reporting fluctuations in ridership as many workers choose to work from home at the beginning and end of each week.
The Toronto Police Service are eyeing ways to add more technology to the city’s parking system in a way that could give drivers more options to avoid tickets — and close what one self-styled parking vigilante calls a “loophole.”
A motorcyclist has died after a collision in Etobicoke Friday night.
Those who know the debate most intimately said there's little nuance to be found in Quebec Premier Legault's arguments about Quebec's immigration model. 'Every time it's as painful as it is the first time,' said a spokesperson for a Sikh group.
Friends and family of a 17-year-old girl who died in what police are calling an accident on the shore in LaSalle will gather Saturday to remember the Montreal teen who her mother said was 'was full of life.'
Quebec residents will be celebrating the provincial St-Jean Baptiste Day in-person today for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to cancel most festivities over the past two years.
An Ottawa family is demanding answers after their son went missing for five hours following his pickup from school on Monday.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Ottawa police warn officers will soon start issuing $110 fines for expired licence plates
Ottawa police are reminding drivers to renew their vehicle licence plate stickers, saying officers will soon begin issuing $110 fines for expired plates.
The impact of the Roe v. Wade ruling in the United States, allowing states to ban abortions, is being felt here in the nation’s capital.
Waterloo regional police are investigating after 21 vehicles at four Waterloo dealerships were vandalized in the space of two days.
The success is thanks to a team of local scientists.
The region says they expect encampment residents to comply with the order to leave and enforcement won’t be needed.
June 24 is St. Jean Baptiste Day, a day when francophone culture and history is celebrated.
Work is progressing on Glencore's Onaping Depth Project, a new ore body deep underground that will replace two other mines coming to the end of production.
A new visitor centre at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site is officially open.
A group of students from a school in Winnipeg's River Park South neighbourhood were involved in a 'pepper spray incident' while riding to school on a Winnipeg Transit bus, says a local school division.
An act of kindness from a Winnipeg bus driver is being shared by a passenger who says it warmed his heart to witness.
Environment Canada is investigating a possible tornado in Binscarth, Man. on Thursday night.
A former professional football player who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend will not be eligible for parole for 14 years.
Mounties in Kelowna say a body has been found downstream from where missing woman Chelsea Cardno may have been swept away.
A recently published report by the U.K.-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Vancouver as the fifth most livable city in the world.
Saanich police are investigating after a 17-year-old boy was hit by a car while walking at a crosswalk on Thursday evening.
British Columbia's police watchdog is investigating after a man suffered medical distress while in RCMP custody in Campbell River, B.C., and later died.
A problem with the aircraft's emergency ejection parachute has grounded the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.