Thu, June 13
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A safe and enjoyable downtown is everybody’s business! 

It’s why the City has invested $1.9 million to help seven downtown civic partners achieve community safety, crime prevention and intervention, as well as connecting peop

le who experience vulnerabilities with more needed resources.  

The grant targets are the Calgary Public Library, Arts Commons, the Contemporary Calgary Arts Society, the Fort Calgary Preservation Society, the MNP Community Sports Centre, TELUS Convention Centre and the Vecova Centre for Disability Services and Research. The important funding will help boosts safety projects like lighting, additional security staff, the presence of surveillance cameras and more. 

Our civic partners provide important programs and services in the downtown core and near transit, and they contribute to the vibrancy and the enjoyment of our downtown,” explains Lori Kerr, Calgary’s manager of Major Partners.  

“The City’s $1.9 million investment will strengthen their focus and their efforts by providing more resources for the essential services necessary to the popular downtown Calgary public places safe and reliable for visitors, customers, residents and all Calgarians.”     

It’s unanimous. The City’s recent grant is welcomed, appreciated and, unfortunately, very necessary.  

In Calgary, as in most major urban areas, risks to public safety in the downtown core continue a difficult and urgent issue. Concerns over social disorder and crime in Calgary’s downtown core and along LRT lines, have escalated in recent years and prompted not only concerns but a range of responses, including provincial funding to add police patrols and task forces working to find effective solutions. 

Last year, after Calgary Police Service data showed violent crime in the city’s downtown spiked by more than 7.5 per cent than the previous five-year average, a Calgary task force was formed. Their assignment was to examine social disruption and security issues facing the downtown core, partly created by the 2014 economic downturn as well as the subsequent pandemic disruptions. The task force recommended solutions for downtown safety. 

Two years ago, Calgary’s Citizen Perspective Survey showed that 83 per cent of respondents said they felt safe walking alone downtown in daylight hours. By last year, the number fell to 35 per cent. The survey also reported that 77 per cent of respondents urged that more police or peace officers were needed in the core. 

Lori Kerr notes that this latest Civic Partner Community Safety Grant Program is just one of several city investments, strategies and plans which Council has initiated to improve Calgary’s downtown safety. 

“The $1.9 million grant is just the latest boost,” she adds. “It is in addition to other recent public safety-related funding, like the City’s Public Transit Safety Strategy, increased CCTV surveillance, upgraded lighting on CTrain platforms and the recruitment of 65 new transit peace officers.”