cgy-chinatown

Calgary police say patrols will be stepped up and additional officers added in Chinatown. ((Calgary Downtown Association))

A petition launched after a high-profile shooting that blinded an innocent bystander has led Calgary police to step up patrols in Chinatown.

A Brazilian student walking along Centre Street South with his girlfriend was caught in gunfire in September, leaving him blind.

The incident prompted Jack Yee and other Chinatown residents to collect nearly 2,000 signatures demanding a greater police presence. The petition was brought to their alderman, Druh Farrell, who joined in a meeting with community leaders and Calgary's police chief.

Community organizer Lily Kwok says residents are tired of crime in their neighbourhood and police not responding quickly enough to their concerns. "It comes to a stage that it is intolerable," she said.

In response, Calgary police say they plan to increase the officers in the downtown area from the current 17, to 77 by June of next year. In the meantime, officers are stepping up their patrols in Chinatown.

"The officers, between calls, while they're doing their routine patrols, will now be concentrated in that area," said police Supt. Trevor Daroux.

Police have also expanded the role of their only Cantonese and Mandarin speaking officer. Instead of just responding to crimes, Const. Sean Chu now now acts as a community liaison who can demand extra resources when needed.

"[I'm] glad that the city and the police pay attention to Chinatown," said Yee. "I think now they change it to priority so we are very happy about that."