Chair of Hope City Chamber of Commerce
Members of the Hope City Chamber of Commerce, too, are noticing the changing face of Hope City and are concerned that the Police Service is not intervening before things get out of hand. They know from their own surveys that many people are retiring there to get out of the big city, and young families want a safe community in which to raise their families. The problem is that some of the harbingers of big city youth issues are just beginning to surface – things like graffiti and increased vandalism – and the chamber of commerce feels that the police are not taking an aggressive enough approach to the problem.
In fact, the chamber of commerce is looking at increasing its use of private security firms and will ask the city to deduct some of these costs from the Police Service budget – the chamber members are that upset. They want a more visible presence and a more serious arrest policy, not just giving these young criminals a talking-to and a ride home.
The chamber of commerce invests a lot of energy into promoting the city as safe, and encouraging folks to come downtown for shopping and other social activities. If people begin to feel threatened, business will suffer. The chamber is seeing this in a number of instances in the downtown core.
In addition, the chamber of commerce is concerned about upcoming road construction and traffic diversion projects that will disrupt shopping patterns and the routine functions of businesses. At this point, time lines for construction, both the "when" and "for how long," have not been firmly set, or if set, not communicated to the chamber. Chamber members wonder about the challenges of policing business areas that have closed or impeded roads. In particular, they are concerned about the increased likelihood of vandalism and other crimes in these areas, and the likelihood of longer response times by police to emergency calls from businesses there. They feel that they have not been adequately consulted by the city or adequately reassured by police as to what steps will be taken to mitigate potential problems arising from the major traffic disruptions that are anticipated.