Beat team puts dent in crime on International Avenue
Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary
Published Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:45AM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 17, 2014 2:53PM MDT
It’s been just two months since city police launched an initiative to curb crime on 17th Avenue SE and Chief Rick Hanson says the program has had a major impact on the area.
The International Avenue Beat Team (IABT), consisting of 16 CPS constables and a sergeant, was launched in July to further the efforts of local residents, business owners and other city departments to clean up the area.
Foot patrol officers were out on the streets for up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week, and focused on the area around the International Avenue corridor.
Since then they've laid hundreds of charges, and claim crime in the Forest Lawn area has dropped dramatically.
So much so that Calgary’s police chief says the program is not only here to stay but likely to expand.
“The reality is as a police service we have to respond to calls of service 24/7, this is a growing city, it grows by 30,000 people a year, I mean we’re stretched just to respond to calls, so this is a separate piece. There’s areas that could absolutely benefit by expanding a program like this, 36 Street for instance. Further up the 36 Street corridor, that we’ve talked about many times. If you look at expanding further into the Beltline, 17th Avenue west, we’re talking about places like, beyond Kensington, Kensington and beyond in that area there. Different issues, but foot patrols are without a doubt, the best way to deliver policing services, because its pure interaction with the community. Call response is call response, that’s when you go from call to call to call and our officers do a great job,” said Hanson.
Hanson says only a cut to the police budget could kill the foot patrols and he puts the cost of the program at about $1.6M.
The program goes hand in hand with a larger project of community policing that involves police in schools and working with kids in the area. Details on that project will be announced at a later date.
(With files from Kevin Green)