Calgary

Crime down around Cecil Hotel after city closes bar

Calgary's mayor says drug dealers and other criminals are no longer calling the Cecil Hotel home.

Calgary's mayor says drug dealers and other criminals are no longer calling the Cecil Hotel home.

Dave Bronconnier said Wednesday that crime around the notorious downtown hotel has dropped 85 per cent since the city revoked the business licence for the hotel's bar on Dec. 9 over fears for public safety.

"The closure of the Cecil Hotel has had a dramatic increase on the safety in the downtown area," Bronconnier said.

The city has purchased the notorious building for $10.9 million, planning a demolition.

Crime just moves, says neighbour

Andrew Watson of Booker's BBQ Grill and Crab Shack on 4th Avenue said he has noticed a change, but is certain the crime has only been relocated.

"Since the Cecil has been closed down, there just isn't as much fear to come down in this area," he said.

Louise Gallagher, a spokeswoman for the Drop In Centre, a homeless shelter, said criminal activity and drug dealing may no longer be visible in and around the Cecil Hotel, but it's still there.

"What we found was that it wasn't that the dealers went away, they just hid a bit more and found people whenever they could," she said.

Police Chief Rick Hanson agrees that the level of crime may be down for that specific area, but drug deals and other crimes have shifted to somewhere else.

"We're not naive enough to think all that crime has gone away. Some of that has obviously been displaced."

The city takes over formal ownership of the hotel next month and there are still many options being discussed for the site.

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