PEI

Police increase patrols, add camera in one Charlottetown neighbourhood

Charlottetown police have increased patrols and installed an e-watch camera in response to safety concerns from residents in a Euston St. neighbourhood. 

'It's a societal problem, it's not going to be easily solved'

Some residents called on the city to do more after seeing what they felt was an increase in thefts, vandalism and drug use in their area. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

Charlottetown police have increased patrols and installed an e-watch camera in response to safety concerns from residents in a Euston St. neighbourhood. That community stretches from Euston to Allen Street, and University Ave. to Mt. Edward Rd.

Some residents called on the city to do more after seeing what they felt was an increase in thefts, vandalism and drug use in their area. They met with city officials and police in July and again on Wednesday night. 

Sharon Larter has lived in the area for 10 years and attended both resident-led meetings. She said she's happy with the changes so far, but knows the problem won't be solved overnight. 

"It's a societal problem, it's not going to be easily solved. So we have to attack it from a bunch of different levels and see what we can do for everybody that's involved, including the people that are down on their luck at this moment that are causing these problems," Larter said.

"Every day we're hearing about somebody else who's had something stolen," she said. "That really isn't what we want to see in the neighborhood."

Charlottetown police Deputy Chief Brad MacConnell said police have taken steps to address the problem, but recognizes there is still more work to do. 

Sharon Larter has lived in the area for 10 years and says she's happy with the changes so far, but knows the problem won't be solved over night. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

'Homelessness, drug issues, mental health issues'

He said since the first meeting in July, police have increased communication with landlords in particular. 

"We're going to be certainly asking the landlords responsible for those properties to take the first step in monitoring the properties and cleaning up you know, those unsightly premises and fixing any damage that may [have] occurred."

I think the onus is on all of us.— Charlottetown police Deputy Chief Brad MacConnell

MacConnell said the department is also considering putting needle disposal containers in the area for people who use drugs "instead of discarding them on the street or on the sidewalks or on the grass."

He said police will continue their increased presence in the area, and may install more cameras as well.

MacConnell said he wants to continue working with the community to solve the problems in the neighbourhood, but said policing isn't the only answer.

"I think the onus is on all of us. As I said, we can't police ourselves out of these problems which are rooted with deep-seated social issues; homelessness, drug issues, mental health issues."

Larter said a neighbourhood watch program was an idea that came out of Wednesday night's meeting. The community plans to meet again in the near future. 

"We don't want to be aggressive, we just want to be able to solve this or soften this problem," she said. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Isabella Zavarise is a video journalist with CBC in P.E.I. You can contact her at isabella.zavarise@cbc.ca

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