A program aimed at reducing crime in the Mill Woods Town Centre shopping centre area over the summer was so successful last year, city Edmonton police are renewing it for a second year.

The project enables police to get to know young people between the ages of 14 and 24 hanging out at the mall in an effort to reduce "loitering, crime and disorder in the area," said Const. Jeffrey Westman.

Edmonton Transit donated an office space at the Mill Woods Transit Centre where two full-time officers will meet with the public and spend more time in the area while completing other policing duties.

Last year, the effort involving police, transit and area businesses ran from May to mid-August.

During that time, the number of youths loitering in the Mill Woods Town Centre area dropped from about 150 to between 50 and 75, robberies were reduced by 30 per cent and the number of stolen vehicles cut in half.

The program also helped police solve more crimes with the number of offences resulting in charges doubling to 40.

This year a youth worker will also join the program to work with youths one-on-one.