Some people in Sudbury's Minnow Lake neighborhood are worried that proposed housing developments could negatively affect crime rates in their community.

There are plans to bring homes and apartment buildings to the area, and at a meeting held Thursday night some wondered if more people and lower-income housing would mean more crime.

Meeting organizer Dot Klein said she doesn't think the area is any worse than anywhere else in the city right now, but she is worried that won't continue to be the case.

"We have a lot of seniors in Minnow Lake who are used to leaving their doors open," she said "Times are changing."

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Sudbury Police Chief Frank Elsner (CBC)

Sudbury Police Chief Frank Elsner told the gathering the police force is switching to a new community based model of policing — something he believes will help the neighborhood.

Officers to get to know neighbourhood

While he wouldn't promise the crowd more officers, he did say officers will be assigned to one of five areas in the city and spend at least a year there.

"They'll get to know that neighborhood," he said.

"Do we have a lot more kids running around the streets? Is there appropriate resources for those kids to play ball or whatever it might be?"

It’s unclear how many more people will be moving to the Minnow Lake area with the new housing developments on the horizon, as the Ontario Municipal Board has yet to rule on several of city council's planning decisions related to the projects.

That delay will buy the police force some time to get its community based model of policing rolling.

Elsner said officers are being encouraged to get to know people on their beats and take ownership of their communities.

"If your zone starts getting hit with break and enters, that's going to be personal to the officers now and they're going to really have some skin in the game," he said.

Elsner says the first part of the plan is carving the city into five coverage areas, something he expects to happen in the next two months.