June 22nd, 2024

Property crime problematic for downtown business


By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 12, 2022.

Herald photo by Al Beeber Traffic passes downtown storefronts Friday morning. Downtown businesses are suffering from break-ins which have prompted the Downtown Business Revitalization Zone community director to discuss the situation with city police.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Downtown businesses are having problems with property crimes and the police have heard their concerns.
Sarah Amies, community director of the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone, says she’s had discussions with Lethbridge Police Service chief Shahin Mehdizadeh about crime issues.
“Some of our small businesses do seem to be the victim of breaks-in. Often these break-ins are of the smash-and-grab type so they don’t seem to be particularly well organized, for instance,” said Amies Thursday.
“The thing is break-and-enters are given really high values in the Crime Severity Index and so because there are quite frequent break-ins in the downtown core, the Crime Severity Index gets tagged every time” and as a result rates look “alarmingly high”, said Amies.
“This is just something the BRZ is working with its membership on in terms of finding strategies as to how to push off those crimes of opportunity” without resorting to the use of roll shutters, she said.
“While they do provide a great deal of security, they don’t do a great deal for the vibrancy and the look of downtown,” Amies added.
The director said she understands if business owners are at wit’s end and feel roll shutters are the only solution, which she calls a “very, very drastic measure.”
The BRZ is talking to businesses about installing metal bars behind glass. And if they go the roll shutter route, then they can potentially put them on timers so they don’t get rolled down at 5 in the afternoon when there is still traffic.
“They can potentially get rolled down later on in the evening when your typical foot traffic for downtown would have gone home and then leave the core open and empty to folks who are bent on doing mischief,” she said.
No particular streets are targeted, Amies said, just businesses in general with street-level storefronts.
“More often than not it’s the small business owner that seems to be broken into,” said Amies.
Amies and a couple of board members met with the police chief at his invitation on Feb. 3.
The police, said Amies, are dealing with major resource issues with no increase in officer numbers for several years and a $1 million budget cut. She also said the downtown policing unit has been cut in half from eight officers to four.
Referring to Mehdizadeh, “his hands are pretty tied because he’s dealing with major resource issues,” said Amies.
“He’s very community-minded and very interested in working with us in the downtown. We talked about private security but that’s extremely expensive and basically private security will phone the Lethbridge Police Service if they come across something going on. It all goes back to the same call number,” Amies said.
Amies said she was told by a BRZ member it’s difficult to prosecute someone for a crime under $3,000 “so because of that difficulty in prosecuting, there don’t seem to be a huge number of deterrents for folks who are causing mischief downtown, either just for the fun and games of it or to potentially feed a habit or a lifestyle,” added Amies.
Amies said a lot of positive things happen downtown which people will see more when Festival Square opens downtown and more events are planned to increase foot traffic.
“It’s important to highlight the positives as opposed to the negatives.”

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Citi Zen

Let me know when you figure out who is causing these problems downtown. LOL.LOL.

JustObserving

” Some of our small businesses do seem to be the victims of break-ins”. And vehicles at your businesses are broken into, and shoppers at your businesses are hassled or assaulted and on an on and on. Roll shutters are an expensive step [ I bet someone wants City Taxpayers to pay for these ! ] More importantly they are the penultimate step to effective security…closing up shop, nailing plywood over your shattered windows and formally declaring the Downtown DEAD .
Citi is right…until someone in authority to actually do something grows a pair and is prepared to be “poitically incorrect” enough to actually put put the fire rather than just sprinkle water on it Galt Gardens and surrounding areas of this City are for all intents and purposes dead zones…and, Ms Aimes, it is not just after 5 PM.

pursuit diver

We can’t go after the perpetrators! That would be against the great RECONCILIATION and didn’t you know the city and other governments now proclaim and subject all of us to the reciting of that proclaimation that WE ARE ON THEIR LANDS at every meeting.
We now are now expected to comply, hence BOHICA!
And didn’t you know that Ottawa has stated for years that these groups are over represented in jails so courts have reduce the numbers incarcerated, guilty or not!
Ultimately, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms got thrown out! All are not treated equal under the law!
Defund police and other groups have helped cause the reduction in policing including the last Council that slashed the police budget are a time when it needed to be increased!
Do not blame the police! They are doing the best they can and many do not know that often we only have 8-10 police on patrol for the whole city! They cannot be everywhere and often they are stuck at incidents that do not allow them to leave for a break and enter!
We need at least another 5 members on patrol per shift, especially at night when the addicts and deviants are out committing crimes. There is no reason they should be allowed to loiter downtown, selling drugs, vandalizing vehicles and buildings, committing acts of thefts, tagging with graffiti and the same pimps/dealers that run circuits all night downtown for the addicts/prostitutes are still actively doing it after 5 years, no reason this should be allowed!
How is it that the Blood Tribe can use curfews but if we do it we are racist? Again I say, BOHICA!