Downtown Hamilton got a bad reputation a few years ago, but now the area is “one of the safest places to be,” says the head of its BIA.

Kathy Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown BIA, led a walking tour of the Cleanliness and Security in the Downtown task force Monday.

And while it had issues in the past, heightened police presence and occupancy rates has made it one of the safest areas of the city, she said.

Kathy Drewitt

Kathy Drewitt from the Downtown BIA leads a tour of the Cleanliness and Security in the Downtown Task Force on Monday. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

“There is an erroneous perception in terms of the safety and security of downtown,” she said. “It is one of the safest places to be.”

The annual tour included the heads of the Downtown and International Village BIAs, task force members and staff from city planning, heritage, public works, health and bylaw enforcement staff.

Drewitt and Susie Braithwaite, executive director of the International Village BIA, pointed out issues such as battered garbage cans, cracked sidewalks and posters taped to light standards.

The two BIAs are partnering with the city this summer for a new graffiti removal pilot project, Drewitt said. They’ll try out new methods of coating areas often targeted by graffiti. 

We asked police and residents what they thought of safety in the downtown. Check out the video to hear their answers.