WINNIPEG – Three amendments will be tabled at this morning’s Executive Policy Committee meeting that are designed to bolster the proposed multiyear downtown safety strategy, Mayor Brian Bowman announced today.

“Winnipeg’s population continues to grow, and as our city grows we need to ensure we’re building a safer and more inclusive city,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “The amendments being proposed today will strengthen recommendations coming forward from the public service by addressing key safety concerns our police department and residents have identified.”

The amendments will seek to further enhance downtown safety by:

  • Funding the decommissioning of the existing transit shelter at Portage Place Shopping Centre as well as the installation of a new shelter;
  • Targeting public areas known to experience higher levels of criminal activity with improved lighting; and
  • Expanding funding for downtown safety patrols to include the foot patrol program operated by the West End BIZ.

Mayor Bowman noted the heated transit shelter at Portage Place Shopping Centre, constructed in 1986, has been identified by the Chief of the Winnipeg Police Service as a “hot spot” of downtown crime, and that crimes are committed in or near the transit shelter on a regular basis.

“This facility is well known as a high crime area, continues to provide challenges to security services for the shopping centre as well as police, and it’s time we fixed it,” said Mayor Bowman.

A second amendment will propose additional funding to support improved lighting in public areas identified by the Winnipeg Police Services as high crime areas, recognizing that lighting of public spaces and routes can improve safety, reduce criminal activity, and increase pedestrian traffic.

“In addition to supporting lighting on the exterior of private buildings, as recommended by the public service, it’s important that we also strategically target improved lighting in public areas we know to be high crime areas,” said Mayor Bowman. “By working together with the Winnipeg Police Service, we can identify the highest risk spaces that could benefit most from enhanced lighting.”

A third amendment, to be introduced by Councillor Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre), Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Innovation, will propose to include the West End BIZ as part of the expanded foot patrol program.

“The West End BIZ’s current foot patrol program is an effective and visible presence that helps residents feel safer, and they are well positioned and willing to collaborate on making our downtown area safer,” said Councillor Gilroy who is also Council’s representative on the United Nations Women Safe Cities Global Initiative that aims to reduce and prevent sexual violence towards women and girls in public spaces.

The amendments will be tabled and discussed at this morning’s Executive Policy Committee. If approved, they will proceed to Council for approval at the July 19th meeting. The amendments build on the recommendations contained in the multiyear downtown safety strategy. These recommendations include:

  • Expansion of the SafeWalk Program;
  • Modernization and expansion of the Winnipeg Police Service closed-circuit television program;
  • A pilot project to purchase mobile software to enhance communication and coordination between security and outreach workers; and
  • Creation of a Building Exterior Lighting Grant Program to support the integration of architectural lighting that creates a more inviting and safer pedestrian environment downtown.