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Downtown

Maybe having a gritty downtown is actually Edmonton's secret affordability weapon. Affordability alone will probably make Edmonton the fastest growing city in canada over the next 5 years. And I think a big part of why it's more affordable is that DT is less polished than other places.
 
^there's a massive difference between 'gritty' and 'disgusting/unkept/unsafe/uninvestible'

Berlin is 'gritty', Edmonton is most certainly way past that point.

Any idea or suggestion of keeping YEGDT 'less polished' than its counterparts is idiotic.
 
Maybe having a gritty downtown is actually Edmonton's secret affordability weapon. Affordability alone will probably make Edmonton the fastest growing city in canada over the next 5 years. And I think a big part of why it's more affordable is that DT is less polished than other places.
Its not just some garbage or vandalism, which reasonable efforts are being made to clean up or social disorder both of which exists in other places too. For instance, I found San Fransisco disgusting compared to Edmonton and that was when I went there pre COVID. I have heard it has become worse.

Other cities have an interesting variety of stores (often upscale ones) downtown and more corporate offices which makes the grittiness less noticeable, rather than so many vacant store fronts. Our downtown is neglected, by the city, not just when it comes to cleanliness, but as an economic and business hub.
 
I am born and raised in Edmonton but have lived overseas in Europe and Asia for the past 25 years. I was shocked by the state of Edmonton's downtown during my last visit a couple of years ago - one positive was driving around DT with my teenage son served as a good lesson for him on the harmful impact of drugs. I currently live in a democratic country in Asia with a GDP per capita 1/5 that of Canada's. The city I live in has an excellent public transit system - clean, safe, cheap and effective - very few homeless people, no gangs of drug crazed loonies bothering people. Strict laws and enforcement on drugs -especially Class A and B drugs like opioids - most Asian countries realize from historical experience what opioids can do to a society and they do not mess around and laws are clearly communicated to the population and are very harsh. People here rarely think of Canada but Canada's bad press is starting to get noticed - they think (as do I) that the safe drug supply program is craziness. I think overly liberal policies that put the "rights" of "victims' ahead of the rights of the general public have resulted in public safety and law and order being sacrificed for a small minority group. I want to send my son to U of A by 2026 when he completes high school but I am very worried about law and order and public safety in Edmonton. Edmonton (and Alberta and Canada) has been let down significantly by its leadership and law/policy makers. I was hoping my kid could get a good education and have a good life in Canada - now I have my doubts.
 
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Edmonton isn’t unsafe?

Honestly I’m biased but I grew up in a developing country in Asia and while the city has problems, it pales vastly in comparison to the experiences I had while younger. It’s not even a contest where I’d want to live in. (It’s here)

Asian drug policy aside (that’s a completely different conversation), I don’t think it’s fair to be worried about the law and order situation here.
 
Edmonton isn’t unsafe? Honestly I’m biased but I grew up in a developing country in Asia and while the city has problems, it pales vastly in comparison to the experiences I had while younger. It’s not even a contest where I’d want to live in. (It’s here) Asian drug policy aside (that’s a completely different conversation), I don’t think it’s fair to be worried about the law and order situation here.
Edmonton isn’t unsafe? Honestly I’m biased but I grew up in a developing country in Asia and while the city has problems, it pales vastly in comparison to the experiences I had while younger. It’s not even a contest where I’d want to live in. (It’s here) Asian drug policy aside (that’s a completely different conversation), I don’t think it’s fair to be worried about the law and order situation here.
Edmonton isn’t unsafe?

Honestly I’m biased but I grew up in a developing country in Asia and while the city has problems, it pales vastly in comparison to the experiences I had while younger. It’s not even a contest where I’d want to live in. (It’s here)

Asian drug policy aside (that’s a completely different conversation), I don’t think it’s fair to be worried about the law and order situation here.
I think it is fair to be worried about the law and order situation in Canada, and I'm not alone:

A new survey published this week by the Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that two thirds of Canadians believe violent crime is visibly worse than it was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of respondents, one fifth said they had feared for their safety in the last six months. One in every 20 said they had personally been assaulted
 
It definitely isn't just an Edmonton problem - drugs are a problem throughout Canada and I would say most of North America (don't know about Europe or elsewhere).

It is probably more noticeable here, because of fewer people working, shopping and living downtown. Litter and graffiti is the least of our problems, but thankfully the one that something can more easily be dealt with.

And like fixing a broken window, keeping the area cleaner and maintained can help it improve over time.
 
The public spaces and public transit, and shopping ares etc, in a city where I live in SE Asia (KL) are very clean, safe and devoid of drug crazed lunatics defacing property and harassing and scaring citizens. Of course there is crime, especially pick pocketing and theft, but I have never seen anything here, or in Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai or any big Asian cities I have been to, that resembles what I saw in downtown Edmonton. Also, there is not a heavy handed police presence in KL - I will travel on their MRT public transit and rarely see a police officer. I think the reason for this is they have very strict laws regarding drug dealing and usage, especially for Class A and B drugs. Its like preventative medicine vs treatment - they stop the issue at its source and the cost savings and benefits to society are huge. If a city official from KL, Seoul, Tokyo etc came to Edmonton and went downtown they would be shocked - and the "safe supply" nonsense in BC is absolutely crazy bonkers - how the government in BC supports this program is beyond belief and the costs to society in BC must be astronomical. The penalty in Malaysia for selling or trafficking Class A + B narcotics is death - and everyone knows this. Some western media might think this is draconian, but it works. They still have problems here with drug trafficking but it does not overwhelm society - most Asian countries are very familiar with opioids and the addictive natures of certain narcotics and the havoc they can wreak on a society - therefore the punishments are very harsh, as they should be.
 
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The public spaces and public transit, and shopping ares etc, in a city where I live in SE Asia (KL) are very clean, safe and devoid of drug crazed lunatics defacing property and harassing and scaring citizens. Of course there is crime, especially pick pocketing and theft, but I have never seen anything here, or in Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai or any big Asian cities I have been to, that resembles what I saw in downtown Edmonton. Also, there is not a heavy handed police presence in KL - I will travel on their MRT public transit and rarely see a police officer. I think the reason for this is they have very strict laws regarding drug dealing and usage, especially for Class A and B drugs. Its like preventative medicine vs treatment - they stop the issue at its source and the cost savings and benefits to society are huge. If a city official from KL, Seoul, Tokyo etc came to Edmonton and went downtown they would be shocked - and the "safe supply" nonsense in BC is absolutely crazy bonkers - how the government in BC supports this program is beyond belief and the costs to society in BC must be astronomical. The penalty in Malaysia for selling or trafficking Class A + B narcotics is death - and everyone knows this. Some western media might think this is draconian, but it works. They still have problems here with drug trafficking but it does not overwhelm society - most Asian countries are very familiar with opioids and the addictive natures of certain narcotics and the havoc they can wreak on a society - therefore the punishments are very harsh, as they should be.
I honestly think we need to move in this direction. It’s the only way.
 
Honestly as someone who was born from a southeast Asian country and wasn't living in an expat/financial district for my formative years, it's probably going to not be a popular opinion but I have the complete opposite opinion but that's my two cents and that's deviating from the downtown topic.
 
Don't think it's just Asian countries either. When we were in Europe last spring (Amsterdam, Prague, Berlin), it was MUCH different too, far safer, 'gritty' in parts and certainly more drug use, but being done in a different way.

We've let our fellow citizens down by allowing them to fall so far.

We're equally let fellow citizens down by not ensuring that the general public are safe, can use public spaces without fear or concerns and that our tolerance of many things is out of control.

WE should be ashamed of the state of things.
 
Honestly as someone who was born from a southeast Asian country and wasn't living in an expat/financial district for my formative years, it's probably going to not be a popular opinion but I have the complete opposite opinion but that's my two cents and that's deviating from the downtown topic.
I will echo that. Having grown up and lived in Latin America most of my life, and experienced what ACTUAL high crime rates and violence is, it feels like people here are overblowing things.

I will agree that the fact that even the most dangerous cities in Canada are overall a lot safer than the vast majority of the cities in the world doesn't mean we should be complacent with law enforcement and safety, in general, and I would very much like to see the kind of approach some places have with drugs and gang related violence, so that we can prevent things here from actually getting as bad as other places.

A new survey published this week by the Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found that two thirds of Canadians believe violent crime is visibly worse than it was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of respondents, one fifth said they had feared for their safety in the last six months. One in every 20 said they had personally been assaulted
A few things here:
1 - the fact that it's visibly worse is unquestionable, and that is nation-wide. But part of that "visibility" also has to do with a systematic campaign by some media outlets to blow it out of proportion and make it look WAY worse than it is, usually for political reasons (see Edmonton Journal). As anecdotal as it is, I know several people who are deathly afraid of using transit here, even for things like Oilers games or concerts, when it's generally safe and all, because they "keeping reading and hearing it on the news every day" as if the LRT was basically The Purge, every single day, at every waking hour.

2 - "feared for their safety" ties a lot into my previous point. People will walk by someone literally passed out on the street (and at that point, anyone is absolutely harmless) and say that "they feared for their safety". They'll hear someone screaming from 2 blocks away, across the street, and "fear for their safety". I wonder how much of this kind of response is some inherent racism and prejudice, rather than actual safety concerns. "If I can't walk on the streets without seeing poor, marginalized people, it's unsafe"

3 - Please, share their definition of assault, especially in a context of violent crime. I strongly doubt that 1 in every 20 Canadians was a victim of a violent crime. For context: 5% of the population being victims of violent crimes would've meant roughly 80 THOUSAND of these crimes in the Edmonton CMA. A quick scan through police data shows a total of around 13k occurrences of violent crimes in the City of Edmonton in 2023, and extrapolating that data to the CMA (which is wild, considering that most cities in the CMA as substantially safer than Edmonton proper), this would bring the total to roughly 19k occurrences in 2023.
And that includes all sorts of violent crimes, including those who affected people unlikely to have been interviews (i.e.. criminals and gang members, which account for a large portion of the victims of violent crimes), not to mention that not every single occurrence comes from a new individual, as some people, for one reason or another, do end up being victimized multiple times.
Even if EVERY SINGLE VIOLENT CRIME REPORTED was committed against a different individual, we would still need to count back all the way to 2018 and sum it all up through 2023 to find 80 thousand victims. Realistically, we'd need to be counting WAAAY further back.

So yes, while I agree that we should be getting stricter with criminals, and probably have a much stronger drug policy, I will not be convinced that crime is Canada (and Edmonton, in particular) is anywhere near as bad as it's being touted.
 
When we talk about safety issues in public spaces it is mostly surrounding open drug use and the social behaviours around it either when you're on it or involved in the drug trade. EPS doesn't deal with 'disorder', they only intervene when there's an immediate threat to someone's safety or a criminal code violation. There aren't currently any loitering bylaws for transit.

So just because it doesn't fall across crime statistics doesn't mean it doesn't affect people's perception or real concerns around safety. Edmonton's not the only city that's dealing with this, but we have a lot of open drug use right in the financial core where we're trying to do business and run an economy, or around tourism, arts and culture or civic places. Insight survey (not scientific but relevant) 89% of people said open drug use was not acceptable. This would cross political spectrums. So when people come Downtown and there's open drug use, anti-social often erratic behavour due to drug or mental health situation, or drug dealing, the majority of Edmontonians feel this isn't acceptable in public spaces.
 
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When we talk about safety issues in public spaces it is mostly surrounding open drug use and the social behaviours around it either when you're on it or involved in the drug trade. EPS doesn't deal with 'disorder', they only intervene when there's an immediate threat to someone's safety or a criminal code violation. There aren't currently any loitering bylaws for transit.
My argument there is a counter as to what the survey referred in the comment says. 1 in 20 said that they'd been personally assaulted? They either polled a very targeted demographic, or these number don't add up.

As I said, I do believe we should be stricter with open drug use (and hard drugs in general) and have a much stronger stance on drug trafficking sentences (death penalty seems like too much, personally, but harsh sentences and no commuting is a start). We should also probably have a transit police and a transit loitering bylaw. I would also love to see a much stronger police presence in the areas mostly affected by these issues, and that Police and Peace Officers are granted more freedom to tackle them. Contrary to the vast majority of the people who vote for in the same political spectrum as me, I believe in a stronger law enforcement and criminal justice system as part of the solution for these issues, and I think that "safe use" policies are a huge BS. We gotta tackle addiction as a health issue, but we cannot be lenient with trafficking.

And yes, I also agree these kinds of behaviours are not acceptable, and they make me uneasy if I am out on DT or Whyte, but there is a gross exaggeration of the actual safety issues, and how this has been portrayed in the media (including social media) is a huge part of it, and lots of people use these issues as political instruments (and have done so probably since humanity's first crime), on all sies of the political spectrum.
 

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