In years past I did walk-alongs on a number of occasions with advocates for true community policing. What I mean by that is cops walking their geographic areas of responsibility.
This style of policing was promised by the Edmonton Police Service in the 1990s. But slowly the EPS has pulled back and put officers back in squad cars.
This was a mistake. A mistake not of rank-and-file police officers, but of senior administrators.
Police need to be everyday partners in ensuring safety. Police walking beats become intimately acquainted with the good and bad of a community. They can pull in resources to deal with crime and disorder.
Community policing is preventative, problem-solving policing. It is time-consuming, yet effective. If enacted over years Edmonton would see crime drop further and our sense of security rise to new heights.
Our most vulnerable neighbourhoods particularly need this style of human-level policing.
As your councillor, I will push as hard as I can for a return to true community policing. I realize council is at arms length, with civilian oversight of the EPS done by the Edmonton Police Commission.
But two councillors sit on the commission. I’d like to be one of them.
Safety oriented urban design
Eyes on a street make that street safer. Great urban design helps to facilitate this. Interesting, attractive streets encourage people to spend time outdoors, getting to know their neighbours. Front verandas are just one example of a design elements that creates a greater sense of connection and vigilance in communities.
Criminals do not like vibrant, busy streets. We must be open and creative in finding ways to encourage vibrancy and neighbourly connections in all our neighbourhoods.
As a winter city, Edmonton faces special challenges. We must always consider year-round solutions. In this case, we must create winter-friendly streetscapes with proper lighting.
We must keep the sidewalks clear of snow, the environment clear of litter and our public spaces programmed with lively, welcoming events.
Poverty Reduction Strategy
In Ward 6, some of our neighbours live in disadvantage. The homeless and impoverished lead lives of desperation and peril.
I am a strong supporter of the ten-year plan to end homelessness. But it is time for all of Edmonton to be in on the solution. Developing non-market housing in all quadrants of the city will help create more diverse, mixed communities — to the benefit of all, I believe.
Housing for the homeless in a new community allows better off citizens to volunteer in public service. They will enjoy the benefits of their compassion, while the newly housed will gain from these new mentors, friends and neighbours.
Wherever these developments are situated, they must also come with proper, wrap-around services to help transition residents back into our community.
We must also offer more support to communities like McCauley and Boyle Street, who have done more than their fair share over the years. These are two wonderful neighbouhoods with untold potential.
With proper initiatives and investment — with true community policing — the disorder can be eliminated while those that cause it are treated with compassion.
A clean city is a safe and friendly city. A gleaming city reveals our character and pride.
A proper sweep and scrub of public spaces is especially important in the spring, where grit and gravel has lingered far too long into our warm-weather months.
We must make our showplace streets — Stony Plain Road, 97th Street, 124th and Jasper Avenue, for example — the highest priority. These streets are destinations for Edmontonians and visitors. If we’re going to strut our stuff, we must make sure our stuff is spit and polished.
Downtown is Edmonton’s cultural and business hub. I expect faster, more effective response from city departments who lead clean up efforts.
But street cleaning needs to be done properly all year round, whether it’s clearing snow or sand, picking up garbage or applying a little polish, like paint on light poles.
We need to be stricter about enforcing regulations on parking lots, to ensure they are properly maintained. Parking lots aren’t an ideal form of development, therefore we must at least ensure they are clean and well kept.
All of us need to do our part. But the City must lead the way by raising the bar high on cleanliness and tidiness.