Smith not Sohi. That’s who’s to blame for an uptick in crime and disorder in Edmonton’s Old Strathcona according to Papastew Coun. Michael Janz.
The statement comes in reference to a letter writing campaign launched in his ward by the Old Strathcona Business Association (OSBA). The campaign is urging the municipal and provincial governments to do more to address growing concern over crime and vandalism.
The campaign takes aim at the Edmonton Public Safety and Community Response Task Force (EPSCRTF) — a multi-jurisdictional effort between the provincial and municipal governments. The task force was created in December of 2022 with the purpose of addressing social concerns and safety.
Janz says that mission has failed to materialize.
“It’s about time the inert provincial task force on public safety steps up and actually comes forward with solutions,” Janz said. “It was created, what, eight months ago? And we’ve seen little to no action thus far.”
The task force deployed additional law enforcement to downtown this past February which remains in place until the end of the year.
Arthur Green, press secretary for public safety minister Mike Ellis, issued a statement saying the task force is continuing to “address crime, homelessness, and addiction with the aim of improving public safety throughout Edmonton.”
But Janz feels those types of actions don’t address the root causes and may actually be fuelling the issue in other neighbourhoods.
“If the province doesn’t address the root causes, and just sends more police, all it’s going to do is push those folks … into another neighbourhood,” he said.