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Windsor chief responds to downtown crime as business people patrol streets
Despite a stronger police presence in Windsor's downtown, there is still a concern about safety and an increase in the crime rate.
Now business owners have teamed up to take matters into their own hands.
The owner of the Phog Lounge, Tom Lucier, has organized a group of business people to patrol the area near University and Victoria Avenue between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.
“We are being visible at the right times when these guys are doing these crimes,” says Lucier.
The incidents that have been reported to police include windows being smashed, vehicles being broken into and even a person found hiding in the basement at the Windsor Beer Exchange.
The owners of Craft Heads Brewery and the Windsor Beer Exchange have joined Lucier, in hopes of reducing crime.
Lucier is also looking for help from the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association.
But Chair Larry Horwitz feels they are doing their part, and points to a new initiative with the University of Windsor to install lights in three downtown alley ways.
City council is also spending $1.4-million to have 12 new officers patrol the downtown core, and Lucier says he's noticed a difference in the last 24 hours.
“If there's even a fraction of the footprint from officers that there was last (Tuesday) night in the future, we don't have to be here at all," says Lucier.
Police Chief Al Frederick called a last minute news conference late Wednesday afternoon to address the concerns of downtown business people.
The city’s top cop rattled off a number of stats in the downtown core.
Theft from Motor Vehicles
2013-2017 Monthly Average – 20 occurrences
2018 Monthly Average – 23.4 occurrences (increase 15%)
Stats also show a decrease from 2017 (205 in 2017 to 187 in 2018)
Calls for Service Downtown
2013-2017 Monthly Average – 2159.5
2018 Monthly Average – 2407.9 – increase of 11.5%
Property Crime Jan-Aug
2013-2017 Monthly Average – 118.4 occurrences
2018 Monthly Average – 140.8 occurrences – increase of 18.92%
Total reported property crimes January to August 2018 – 1126
Total reported property crimes January to August 2017 – 1095
“There is no question there’s been an increase for call for service and they are very significant especially in the downtown core area,” said Frederick. “We have dedicated resources every day in the downtown area far more than in the past but it’s not enough. The community is changing in real time and it’s changing dramatically in the last two years.”
The police chief called on the entire community to help reduce crime.
“This is not a simple situation,” says Frederick. “This is a situation that is going to take a lot of collaboration with resources and technology and community support for people in need.”
Frederick notes there has also been an increase in non-criminal calls that include missing persons, mental health, addiction, suicide and homelessness.