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Kingsland Town Hall Summary, Jan. 22, 2020

 
Theme: Crime Prevention & Safety
Guests on Panel: members of Calgary Police Services, Transit, Bylaw and Calgary Neighbourhoods.
Thank you to Ward 5 Councillor George Chahal for his attendance and public ask for input on his development of a public safety task force committee. In 2018, there were 47 deaths by gun violence, 89 in 2019 and there have been nine in the first three weeks of January this year.
Gang violence and organized crime are on the rise, which is serious concern that I am learning about since my recent appointment to the Calgary Police Commission. 
Thank you also to Acadia/Kingsland Social Worker, Viviana Reinberg, who attended the event and held a needs assessment, as well as took the opportunity to connect with Ward 11 residents and answer questions. She can be reached at viviana.reinberg@calgary.ca.
 
What happened at our Town Hall?
This special edition of our monthly Town Hall series was the result of concerns you have shared with me on crime and safety in our city. If you were unable to attend, here is a summary of our community conversation:
 
With spiking crime rates and a mounting opioid crisis blanketing our streets, this has had a ripple effect into our communities throughout Ward 11 and beyond. This is evidenced through disenfranchisement of the downtown core into our south communities along the C-Train corridor.
What has become apparent through our community discussion, as well as through my work on the Calgary Police Commission, is that there has been a lack of reporting of crimes to police. We cannot let complacency or the hustle and bustle of our daily lives prevent us from reporting crime in our communities.
“That is my biggest ask of all of you – when you see suspicious activity in your community or a crime in progress, please report it to the Calgary Police Services through either the non-emergency line or by dialing 911. Sometimes the smallest piece of information can paint the biggest picture for our officers on the front lines.” –Jeromy
 
Are Bylaw services used at night time? – Jane, Elbow Park
 
Bylaw: Every Bylaw officer is now cross-trained to work with animal services and people. At present, Bylaw officers operate from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Jeromy will advocate for extended Bylaw services, if this is forward for him to take action on.
 
What can be done about graffiti in our neighbourhoods? – Paul, Rideau Park
 
CPS: The CPS are on top of graffiti removal through our 311 online/phone complaint system. There is only one dedicated graffiti officer in the City, whose mandate is to track prolific graffiti artists. When graffiti is not done by artists and is a result of social disorder, this can be more difficult to prevent/track.
When it comes to prevention, the “broken windows” theory applies. The theory is that unkempt spaces encourage more of the same.
Mobilizing communities to keep public spaces clean, reinforce pride in home ownership and creating neighbourhood alliances and community watch groups all work to keep our communities clean and discourage graffiti and other types of vandalism from taking place.
 
"How can we address crime around LRT stations, and would it be possible to restrict access to LRT platforms to only ticket holders?" – Jillian, Lakeview
Safety and security around LRT platforms is a serious issue.
Administration has studied the efficacy of platform controls, where a bottleneck design or choke point would keep non-ticket holders away from areas and out of harm's way and determined this to be too costly, and not entirely effective at controlling fare evasion or platform access.
It is concerning to hear that people do not feel safe waiting for the train, so I would be interested in exploring this further to look for solutions.
Transit: Bylaws are in place to deter people from exhibiting unsafe behavior around these platforms. There are thousands of cameras at the platform areas around the City.
SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING. If you see any crimes in progress or unsafe behavior, you can discreetly text your observations to Transit Watch at 74100.
 
"How is the City planning to address panhandling?" – Mike, Kingsland
 
CPS/Bylaw: Calgary is a generous city. While we do have bylaws in place and $50 tickets are issued to panhandlers, this is not an effective tool since these tickets no longer go to warrant and would only appear if the person issued the ticket should do to get a driver’s license. We need to take a fresh approach.
The CPS and various City departments have been working with Wards 10, 11 and 14 to draft a public education campaign that will promote donating to charitable organizations rather than handing money directly to panhandlers.
“The generosity of Calgarians never ceases to amaze me. Encouraging people to donate to worthy local charities will ensure that these dollars actually go toward helping our vulnerable populations, rather than perpetuating the cycle of poverty and addiction.” – Jeromy
 
The vast majority of money given to panhandlers makes its way into the hands of drug dealers. While Calgarians are compassionate and it is difficult to see someone standing on a meridian in the cold winter months, we have to recognize that we are furthering the cycle of poverty and addiction by giving money to panhandlers. It is also very dangerous for people to walk along these busy meridians and unfortunately, this has resulted in fatalities.
Public education can go a long way to encouraging people to donate their money in a way that will genuinely help those in need. Stay tuned for more to come on this collaborative public relations campaign.
 
What can you do to combat crime in your community?
·       Be a good neighbour
·       Get involved with your local Community Association, share information with them.
·       Start a Community Watch group. Walk the streets in pairs. Keep your eyes peeled for strange activities or crimes in progress.
·       Report. Report. Report. Do not assume that your call is a waste of time and resources. One small tip could help solve a crime.
·       Practice the 9 p.m. Routine:
o   Are your car doors locked?
o   Have you removed all valuables from your car?
o   Are you house doors locked?
o   Porch/alley light on?
o   Have you set your alarm?
o   Is your garage door closed? 
Transit Safety Tips:
 
·       See Something? Say Something. You can discreetly text concerns to the Transit team at 74100. You can also call 403-262-1000. For crimes in progress or emergencies, always dial 911.
·       Be aware of your surroundings – remove ear buds, keep your eyes peeled.
·       Stand near Help Phones when waiting for a Train to arrive.
·       Ride at the front of the bus or train (near the driver).
·       Do not stay anywhere that you do not feel safe. Move to another car and report any dangerous or suspicious activity to authorities.
·       Remain on the bus until help arrives, so that dispatchers can keep you on camera if someone is making you feel unsafe.
 
WHO TO CALL: essential services, supports are just a call away
 
Calgary Police Services Emergency: 911
For any and all crimes in progress or if you feel threatened or unsafe, call 9-1-1/
Calgary Police Services Non-Emergency Line: 403-266-1234
This is the number to call where an immediate response is not required, or your personal safety or the safety of another is not in danger. Examples: when there has been a time lapse since the incident took place, if the suspect is not at the scene or if you have a nuisance complaint.
General City Concerns: 311
Please direct all general municipal concerns to this line. Your concerns will get forwarded to the appropriate department. Examples: garbage collection, snow clearing, street lights burned out.
Online 311 complaints can also be made at https://www.calgary.ca/CFOD/CSC/Pages/3.
To report an ongoing traffic concern related to:
·       Speeding
·       School or Playground Zones
·       Trucks/Commercial Vehicles
·       Pedestrian Safety Issues
·       Intersection Safety Issues
·       Motorcycle Issues
·       Illegal Turns
If you are witnessing a crime in progress, please call 911. Parking infractions should be reported to 311 or the Calgary Parking Authority.
 
Safeworks Connect: call/text 403-369-0578
This service is available to all immediate neighbours of the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, where the Safe Consumption Site is located. This line is to address needle debris concerns and harm reduction services.
Alpha House DOAP Team: 403-998-7388
If you observe a concern regarding social disorder, trespassing, encampment regarding an individual who is not displaying aggressive behavior, call the DOAP Team.
The DOAP Team is mobile and can transport individuals to a safe place and connect them with the services they need 24 hours a day.
Need Response Team: call/text 403-796-5334
If you find a needle in your community, DO NOT pick it up. Contact the team to pick up Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
City of Calgary after hours needle response: call 911 or 403-264-1022
If you request after-hours needle response, call for a response from the Calgary Fire Department. DO NOT pick up needle debris yourself.
Transit Watch: text 74100 or call 403-262-1000
If you are at an LRT Station and observe concerning behavior or social disorder, you can discreetly text Transit Watch at 74100. You can also call and report concerns to 403-262-1000. There are Help Phones on the trains and platforms and you can reach out to transit staff at any time.
 
See you at our next Town Hall meeting at the Palliser Bayview Pumphill Community Association Community Association at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20. The address is 2323 Palliser Drive S.W.
 
 
 
 



This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.
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