“The beat cops we have have been great, but the problem is, they’re just not enough of them,” he said. “They get pulled anywhere and everywhere.”
Chad Helm, owner of The Helm men’s clothing store, which is located near 102nd Avenue and 103rd Street, said crime is worse now than it’s been in his store’s decade-long existence.
“Six months ago we had our first break-in,” he said. “Unfortunately, this incident was not the last. Since then, we’ve experienced two more break-ins, one of which the culprit was so bold as to throw a brick through the front of our window at our former location and run away with our cash till.”
Kevin McKee, CEO of Pangman Developments, warned that many of the investors in large-scale downtown projects don’t live in Edmonton. So, when they visit Edmonton, they need to be impressed by the city. And, lately, they have not been. They’ve felt unsafe. And he warned that the end result may be investment dollars being pulled out of the city.
Hryciw said there are simple things that can be done to improve the downtown experience. Garbage cans are often left overflowing and are overturned. Sidewalks need to be cleaned. And utilities and ETS can do a better job with the orange pylons and gates that not only make it difficult to drive, but to bike and walk.
What are the priority locations that need to be addressed?
Said Hryciw: “Outside of any of our hotels. We have guests staying in the core. Any street-level retail space, as well. Restaurants. They’re facing a lot of harassment right now. We want to prioritize where people are gathering and visiting — 104 Street comes to mind. Outside of Enbridge Tower comes to mind. Fairmont Hotel [Macdonald], JW [Marriott].”