New Calgary police team looks to hit the International Ave beat
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With fears downtown Calgary criminal activity has seeped into surrounding communities, city police have put more dedicated boots in area with international flavour.
The Calgary Police, the City of Calgary and the International Avenue BRZ unveiled Thursday the International Avenue Beat Team, a unit of 16 constables and one sergeant who will be patrolling the area starting Sunday.
"What we've done here today is fulfilled a commitment that we have made to this community and to city council,” said Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson.
The team will be a foot patrol group working in the community surrounding International Avenue. They will be operating 24/7, working with the community on crime prevention.
The team was created following concern that criminal activities had leaked from the City’s core after the Clean the Core initiative operating in downtown.
“The (Calgary Police) is responsive to community needs, and this is another example of them stepping up and showing a positive front,” said Alison Karim-McSweeney from the International Avenue Business Revitalization Zone.
“The community could not ask for a better partner.”
The team's patrol area encompasses 35 blocks centred around 17 Avenue SE, with more than 425 businesses serving the neighbourhood.
"We have become much more of an inner-city type community. The police force that existed in the past served the community well, but this community is evolving," said Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot.
"We've been advocating for this for a long time."
The purpose of the team will to be more interactive and involved with the community. Since they are on foot, the hope is officers will be more approachable, as well as be able to pick up on potential crimes before they happen, officials said.
"As we secured downtown, so we intend to make this community safer for everybody," said police Chief Hanson.
- There are around 50,000 residents living in the area around International Avenue
- Although they will patrol on foot, the new International Avenue Beat Team will be operating out of a new mobile command centre.
- The Beat Team was created as by a partnership between Calgary Police Service and the City of Calgary to help strengthen the community.