Crime drops 31 percent in Strathcona
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Crime overall has been on a downward trend in the Strathcona neighbourhood for the last four years, something local officials attribute to stronger community relationships.
From 2009 to this month, there has been a 31 per cent decrease in assaults in the popular entertainment area, according to EPS figures. Homicides have remained at zero over the last four years to-date, except for one case in 2011. Robbery cases have also dropped in the area, while thefts from cars still continue to be an ongoing issue.
Police say the transient population plays a role in crime figures, which is why officers in the area are targeting this population by working with them, which officials say could contribute to lower crime rates.
“What we did this year is ‘fair but firm,’” said Sgt. Maurice Brodeur with EPS, adding police work with the homeless frequently in the area. “We police according to what the people here want us to police and they want us to be fair to the homeless population.”
The decrease in crime levels has been noted by local businesses too, who recognize there will always be crime, but that it is dropping.
“There’s always going to be some incidents, some vandalism, some graffiti but overall, we’re seeing a reduction everywhere,” said Murray Davison, executive director at Old Strathcona Business Association. “What’s unique here is it’s a different type of policing. [Police] also work with our youth at risk and our homeless in the area which is a big contributor to the minor kinds of crimes that we see in the area.”
The Old Strathcona neighbourhood is patrolled by two squads, each consisting of eight constables and one sergeant. One of the ways police try to decrease crime is by working with the homeless population, especially local youth.
Both Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS) and the Old Strathcona Youth Society say that police have been making more appearances at both organizations to try and keep kids out of trouble.
“They work collaboratively with us, get to know the youth, work with them in a positive way rather than having negative interactions out on the street. All of it is a win-win situation,” said Karen Drynan, executive director of the Old Strathcona Youth Society.