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Downtown Crime

Stevey_G

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Edmonton downtown gets and proudly deserves its F-Rating. Question is. What is the resolution to this matter? What makes Edmonton so different than other cities to see this spiralling crime situation? What can we do about it?
 

Stevey_G

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Edmonton has always taken in the downtrodden from the surrounding areas, drawing from northern BC out to Winnipeg. It does create crime. More needs to be done.

Kinda wondering if the local governments are pussy footing around what needs to be done.

These are trauma victims, drug addicts, people with mental health issues. By letting them sit in alleys freezing to death every single winter, committing crime and genuinely damaging the fabric of the community, we ourselves are doing a disservice to them.

Maybe it’s time to discuss something that walks some ethical boundaries. Pick these people up and put them into rural facilities where they can get the help they need and get them out of destructive cycles where they’re preyed on by drug dealers. Maybe farms where there’s nurses and therapists and doctors to support their rehab?

Lord knows, if I ever developed something like schizophrenia, I’d hope society actively participated in supporting me if I ever got to the point some of these people are at.

I understand this sounds questionable and sketchy, I’d be interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts
 

Platinum107

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Kinda wondering if the local governments are pussy footing around what needs to be done.

These are trauma victims, drug addicts, people with mental health issues. By letting them sit in alleys freezing to death every single winter, committing crime and genuinely damaging the fabric of the community, we ourselves are doing a disservice to them.

Maybe it’s time to discuss something that walks some ethical boundaries. Pick these people up and put them into rural facilities where they can get the help they need and get them out of destructive cycles where they’re preyed on by drug dealers. Maybe farms where there’s nurses and therapists and doctors to support their rehab?

Lord knows, if I ever developed something like schizophrenia, I’d hope society actively participated in supporting me if I ever got to the point some of these people are at.

I understand this sounds questionable and sketchy, I’d be interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts
It is a very thin-line type of situation where whatever solutions are used can lead down many slippery slopes, but I guess one would have consider this if a solution like yours was being proposed: When does the freedom to access treatment and help become forced incarceration?

Should people have the freedom to stay out on the street and maintain their personal liberty at a risk to themselves and/or others, or do we as a society force them into treatment and rehab with the goal of solving the issue/reducing the appearance of it while taking away their personal freedom to simply exist in the same space as everyone else? Also, what would a "rural treatment centre" look like, the hospital/sanitorium-like environment of times long past or a warm and welcoming place that includes indigenous services and spaces?

Whatever you believe, I think we can all agree a solution is needed sooner rather than later and, in my opinion, whatever route we choose to go down is going to leave many people unsatisfied and/or distrustful of authority, but maybe that's the pain we'll have to face if we want to make real strides and progress.
 

Stevey_G

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It is a very thin-line type of situation where whatever solutions are used can lead down many slippery slopes, but I guess one would have consider this if a solution like yours was being proposed: When does the freedom to access treatment and help become forced incarceration?

Should people have the freedom to stay out on the street and maintain their personal liberty at a risk to themselves and/or others, or do we as a society force them into treatment and rehab with the goal of solving the issue/reducing the appearance of it while taking away their personal freedom to simply exist in the same space as everyone else? Also, what would a "rural treatment centre" look like, the hospital/sanitorium-like environment of times long past or a warm and welcoming place that includes indigenous services and spaces?

Whatever you believe, I think we can all agree a solution is needed sooner rather than later and, in my opinion, whatever route we choose to go down is going to leave many people unsatisfied and/or distrustful of authority, but maybe that's the pain we'll have to face if we want to make real strides and progress.
That is a spot on counter-point. I never ever thought I would ever be putting myself in a position of considering something like this. That being said, I think it would be a bit hyperbolic to think of these facilities as sanitoriums. Doing something like this would have to have absolute transparency and it would have to be monitored by uninvolved parties. Being homeless to me is not a crime. But the crimes are created by the desperation caused by the homelessness. These are some of society's most vulnerable populations, and therefore they should be seen as dependents.

The idea I have is that they simply get the therapy and treatment they require, and an opportunity to dry out without being targeted by predatory drug dealers that tend to linger around outside of inner city shelters. That's the idea: getting them out of the city, away from the noise, away from the things that support their addictions and problems.

As you stated, we're discussing am ethically questionable concept here. I just feel like we've let these people down by letting the problem get this bad without intervention.
 

IanO

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A group of friends up from Calgary this past weekend for HSBC Rugby Sevens. All of them ex-pats and most have not been in Edmonton for a few years now. We walked for coffee on Saturday morning at 9am, took LRT to Stadium from Bay and back a few times and walked around RHW/Jasper/104st. It was beautiful out, patios open, things looking ok and yet the comments I received back and a few negative interactions were pretty telling.

They were impressed with some of the build-environment change and a few new construction sites (most are in real estate/dev/brokers) but every single person was taken aback by the state of affairs on our Downtown streets. We saw folks shooting up in LRT stations, walked over vomit from folks in LRT entrances who were drinking on the stairs and blocking travel pathways and had multiple instances of people yelling and approaching people as they walked down Jasper.

It's very sad to see and we need to find a better way forward for those entangled in those circular cycles. We also need more of a variety of presence out and about patrolling and providing assistance. We counted no less than 5 people passed out/sleeping or semi-conscious in businesses vestibules, alleys, stairwells and on closed patios. Calls to 211, non-emerge, 911 were made but are not a reasonable solution.

Over the course of 2.5 days out and about Downtown I do not recall seeing a single beat officer or special constable, not one.
 

TAS

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A group of friends up from Calgary this past weekend for HSBC Rugby Sevens. All of them ex-pats and most have not been in Edmonton for a few years now. We walked for coffee on Saturday morning at 9am, took LRT to Stadium from Bay and back a few times and walked around RHW/Jasper/104st. It was beautiful out, patios open, things looking ok and yet the comments I received back and a few negative interactions were pretty telling.

They were impressed with some of the build-environment change and a few new construction sites (most are in real estate/dev/brokers) but every single person was taken aback by the state of affairs on our Downtown streets. We saw folks shooting up in LRT stations, walked over vomit from folks in LRT entrances who were drinking on the stairs and blocking travel pathways and had multiple instances of people yelling and approaching people as they walked down Jasper.

It's very sad to see and we need to find a better way forward for those entangled in those circular cycles. We also need more of a variety of presence out and about patrolling and providing assistance. We counted no less than 5 people passed out/sleeping or semi-conscious in businesses vestibules, alleys, stairwells and on closed patios. Calls to 211, non-emerge, 911 were made but are not a reasonable solution.

Over the course of 2.5 days out and about Downtown I do not recall seeing a single beat officer or special constable, not one.

That's sad and upsetting to read.
Sohi is very likely going to be our next Mayor - I would like him to adopt the following policy (or something like it) announced by Cheryll Watson very early in the campaign to help better address these issues.

Dedicated 7 day a week/8 a.m. to midnight crisis and safety supports — Peace Officers & social worker units dedicated to Central Business Neighbourhood (CBN) and area.

Bolster the DBA to enable them to:Work with CBN businesses, partners and the Neighbourhood Empowerment Team (NET) to facilitate and create community solutions to downtown vibrancy, night time experience and social disorder issues.

Lead a dedicated stakeholder team of downtown business owners and residents to expedite concerns and complaints to City Administration.

Accessible and safe public washrooms.

Dedicated public space cleanup: Pocket parks, LRT stairwells, bus stops.

Shared commitment to improved lighting and safety of public and private parking lots
 

IanO

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I'll believe it when I see it.

The last time I spoke with EPS they were using A.I. and statistical analysis to redistribute resources and new approaches to quadrant policing.

They literally took 40-60 beat officers away from a 9x8 block area 2-3 years ago now... A+B=C.

 

Platinum107

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This is a terrible event that happened, and I hope nobody dies and that they'll catch the attackers responsible, but it does put into perspective that other downtowns and transit systems might not be that far off from us in terms of crime and poverty and that this issue is going to cause damage everywhere if nothing improves.
 

IanO

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Speaking of brand and reputation...

I just returned from D.F. Mexico City and had interesting conversations around just that. I flew YYC-DFW-MEX and spoke with multiple Calgarians and Dallasians? about stereotypes, notables and what they thought of Edmonton, if anything.

When in Mexico City I asked folks we met about whether or not they knew of Edmonton and most did not. About half knew of Calgary due to Banff but not much more than that.

Conversely, many folks suggested I not go to MC for it is unsafe.

Walking around central MC it felt cleaner, safer and far better kept than Edmonton. My buddy from Seattle (who has visited Edmonton multiple times) agreed and said it felt safer than Seattle. We both agreed that while there was considerable homelessness/poverty, it was benign versus what Seattle and Edmonton are facing due to meth et al.

Returning from MX I could not help but wonder what someone from MX who came up to Edmonton, for say the upcoming FIFA match, would take away and share with me on a flight back. What would their experience be staying in (Downtown) Edmonton? If they went for a walk what would they encounter, discover and feel?

We felt safe walking around at noon or midnight with significant police and security presence and on the street, in subway stations and around major entertainment/hotel/visitor areas.

Walking to F1 at 730am many business owners were washing and scrubbing sidewalks in front of their businesses, especially hotels. Planters were planted, flags were flying and public spaces generally quite clean as crews were out each night while we were sleeping.

Many reminders and things to bring back.

Trip photos here:
 

ChazYEG

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So, I've been in Vancouver for the best part of the last two weeks, for work. Obviously, from a density and vibrancy point of view, it is borderline silly to compare the two cities. One thing I've made a habit of, though, is actually screening for things I believe are interesting to help Edmonton's downtown, etc.
It includes fixing on " details" and one thing that really struck me hard is the RIDICULOUS amount of homeless, drug users harassing people, folks who I've felt fairly uncomfortable to be crossing paths with (and boy, it does take a lot to scare me... Rio gives you traumas that will take decades to heal)... In general, a lot of the same thing we complain so much about in Edmonton, probably just as much, if not more. The only tangible difference is the fact that there's so much more people out in the streets that these folks become somewhat invisible, or at the very least completely ignored by the vast majority of people around. I also didn't see a single beat cop patrolling the streets (and barely saw a couple of police cars around)
Not to deny that Edmonton needs to better address crime, especially in the core, but I really think we overblow it a lot, because these problems are that much more noticeable due to our lack of residential density.
 

thommyjo

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So, I've been in Vancouver for the best part of the last two weeks, for work. Obviously, from a density and vibrancy point of view, it is borderline silly to compare the two cities. One thing I've made a habit of, though, is actually screening for things I believe are interesting to help Edmonton's downtown, etc.
It includes fixing on " details" and one thing that really struck me hard is the RIDICULOUS amount of homeless, drug users harassing people, folks who I've felt fairly uncomfortable to be crossing paths with (and boy, it does take a lot to scare me... Rio gives you traumas that will take decades to heal)... In general, a lot of the same thing we complain so much about in Edmonton, probably just as much, if not more. The only tangible difference is the fact that there's so much more people out in the streets that these folks become somewhat invisible, or at the very least completely ignored by the vast majority of people around. I also didn't see a single beat cop patrolling the streets (and barely saw a couple of police cars around)
Not to deny that Edmonton needs to better address crime, especially in the core, but I really think we overblow it a lot, because these problems are that much more noticeable due to our lack of residential density.
Yeah. I spend a week in Vancouver every month for work, downtown. Thats exactly how I'd describe it as well.

Significantly more homelessness, but significantly more life on the streets. So I felt safer, but also was asked more often for money and saw more homelessness than I do in edmonton. Interesting paradox too that much of the livability and liveliness of Vancouver also drives housing prices that drive homelessness. Bit of a double edged sword.
 

IanO

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That's certainly part of it. We have a disproportionate amount of folks on our streets due to a lack of 'normalized' activity (whatever that means).

Sadly, my experience this weekend has been less than stellar.

1. 10mins back into the city I got to call 911 due to a guy in the middle of Jasper trying to punch and kick cars and anyone trying to remove him from the ave. On the phone with EPS after the transfer they had no cars/officers to respond in the area... in the middle of Downtown, on our main street at 8pm on a Wed with someone visibly out of his mind and putting himself and many others at high levels of risk. A Peace Officer eventually drove by and honked him off the street...

2. Walked to the store on Jasper/104st yesterday at noon and had a guy on the corner not only yell F&%#-off to me, but to most people walking by. Pleasant.

3. To top (bad pun) it off... I went down to the parkade check on my car and someone had kindly taken a knife to a 4x6" portion of my soft top to try and open the door. In the last month we have had 3 bikes stolen and now 4 cars broken into in our parkade that is quite secure, well lit and with cameras. That's more in the last 30 days than the last couple of years.

Nice to be back.
 

Aaron_Lloyd

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So glad we just elected a mayor who thinks the only crime issue we have is hate crimes. Can't help but think we're in for another 4 years of a fauxgressive, do-the-bare-minimum government who will continue to let things slip while passing the buck whenever confronted...
 
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ChazYEG

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So glad we just elected a mayor who thinks the only crime issue we have is hate crimes. Can't help but think we're in for another 4 years of a fauxgressive, do-the-bare-minimum government who will continue to let things slip while passing the buck whenever confronted...
The guy hasn't even completed a month in office. For crying out loud, let him at least have some time there before you pre judge.
Also, the other realistically feasible option was Mike Nickel, which would CEEEEEEEEERTAINLY have been sooooooooooo much better.
 

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