Edmonton Police Department establishes 3 new downtown patrol areas
The Edmonton Police Department is reorganizing downtown strike departments to cover areas known to be high in crime, violence and disorder and do not currently have dedicated patrols.
New beats launch Sunday in Cromdale, Oliver and Jasper West.
Police are rerouting 12 members from three other neighborhoods: Boyle Street, City Center and McCauley Quarters because Healthy Streets’ new operations center in Chinatown now covers most of those areas.
The Police Commission reviewed the plan at a public meeting Thursday at City Hall, where Chief Dale McFee spoke about ongoing issues in core communities.
“We have a business community that is hurting and people that may not be coming downtown,” McFee said during the meeting. “So we’re taking some steps to realign our resources.”
Police analyzed the downtown department over a year, from October 1, 2021 to October 31, 2022, and found that the three boroughs needed the most help.
In one year, police received 5,525 911 calls related to violent crime, property crime and social unrest.
Insp. Brent Dahlseide said the beats were new to Oliver and Cromdale.
“Oliver has never had a stroke,” Dahlseide told news media after the meeting. “In our analysis we could see that this was the second highest crime area in relation to the four different zones we examined. So it was a no-brainer.”
The Oliver beat stretches from 116th to 121st streets and from 100th to 105th avenues. Police received 1,757 emergency calls from the area over the one year period.
The Cromdale Beat area, which stretches from Stadium Road to Jasper Avenue and from 95th Street to 82nd Street, had the highest calls at 2,403.
Dahlseide said the fourth, Queen Mary Park, was left out of the new Beat plan.
Jasper West, including Jasper Avenue West from 105th Street to 112th Street and from 100th Avenue to 102nd Avenue, had 1,564 calls.
This area, which includes the Kingsway division, had been beating cops prior to 2016.
support Bart Lawczynski said that customizing the Beats doesn’t require new members or more money.
“These are existing resources that come from old Beat geographies and are basically being placed into new Beat geographies,” he told the commission. “So in terms of resource sourcing, it’s sort of net zero.”
Healthy Road Status
The City of Edmonton established the Healthy Streets Operations Center last year as part of its Chinatown and downtown safety plan.
It has 16 EPS police officers and two sergeants who work alongside community peace officers and paramedics.
“HSOC itself is something like Beats 2.0 – it’s a mix of Beats and community service in one go,” Dahlseide said.
Firefighters and community safety officers are expected to join the teams in the coming weeks, the police report said.
Police plan to double the presence at HSOC to up to four sergeants and 32 constables by the end of 2024.
McFee welcomed the Alberta government’s move to add 12 sheriffs to patrol the downtown core, which is scheduled to begin later this month.
“The sheriffs in particular, these are resources in the field that we can use tomorrow,” McFee said. “This option gives us more visibility.”
McFee said they will continue to reassess needs in different neighborhoods and will report to the Police Commission on the new beats and sheriff deployment in six months.
Dahlseide said they will be tracking service calls over the next six months to see if they go up or down.
One of the biggest parts of the program is communicating with business owners and local residents.
“The feedback our Beat members receive daily from these key stakeholders is really important for us to know if we’re doing it right.”