DTA welcomes return of security foot patrols

With security foot patrols of the downtown set to return in the next few weeks, Jake Rendell, owner of Case’s Music, is more than a little receptive to the idea.

“I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s absolutely necessary given the state that we’re in. We’ve been seeing an increase in incidents. A lot of that seems to be related to the drop off of the security patrols that were happening before and the temporary stoppage of the dynamic (police) patrols. Now that the security patrols are coming back, I have nothing but good thoughts and vibes about that.”

City Council approved in principle a pilot program in mid-May which will bring the patrols back.

The City is using funds made available by the District of Sault Ste. Marie Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB). The DSSAB notified the City earlier this year the organization could make a one-time contribution to assist the Downtown Ambassador Program.

City staff was tasked with proceeding with a RFP for foot patrols which would call the Downtown Plaza home base.

It’s expected patrols would be in service from 11 a.m. and confide daily at 10 p.m. The hours could be revised based on feedback and metrics to provide the best possible coverage. 

Some retailers on Queen would prefer night patrols rather than in the daytime.

Asked for his preference, Rendell says solid arguments can be made for both.

“The incidents that happen downtown during the day and during the night are very different. I think for both customer and general public trust for downtown consumers, daytime patrol would probably be better. But then if we were to look at things specifically, like vandalism or break-ins…most of the issues we have had here have been overnight. 

As far as immediate need goes, just from a community standpoint and people feeling safe coming downtown and people feeling safe going to the stores downtown, daytime patrols would probably be better.”

“I’m happy with them coming back,” says Patricia Rodriguez, manager of Jorie’s Fine Clothing. “I think it’s good to have them while the stores are open, just to give our patrons a sense of being safe downtown.”

Downtown Association Executive Director Nick Luck welcomes the return of the patrols, which gives people downtown an added sense of security.

“You could argue that there was a decrease in (criminal) activity when we did have security patrols in the downtown. That ended in December of 2023 and we did see a noticeable uptick in activity,” says Luck.

Luck says patrols are expected to commence in late June or July.

The Downtown Association funded its own private security patrols from 2020 to 2022 and stopped with the announcement of greater police presence in the downtown core.

Luck says it’s his understanding this iteration of pilot patrols will operate until the end of the year. Sometime after that, he says, Sault Ste. Marie Police Services should have the initial stage of its dedicated downtown division ready to go.

3 thoughts on “DTA welcomes return of security foot patrols

  1. As the patrols end for the day, just when the hooligans are waking up, all rested and ready to pillage the village.
    Change the patrol hours to the crooks actual schedule or this will just be another massive fail and waste of time and money. You’d think by now they night have clued into this.

  2. Elgin street is one of the places they hang out, at the old Outspoken porch and through. and at the laneway beside Blasters, ODSP, and The Days Inn and Holiday Inn Express, they always rummage through the garbage bins, to find valuables to sell. they hang out begging for money at Tim Horton’s bay St, Wendy’s corner, and Gore St. and I heard they are now camping out at Whitefish Island.

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