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Promising early results for Timmins security patrol

The City of Timmins has been funding an overnight security patrol in an effort to address crime and safety concerns in the area.

Numbers are in on the incidents the patrol’s helped with since launching in late July and officials said Wednesday that the early returns are promising.

One downtown business owner said she’s finally finding herself feeling safer walking city streets.

After voicing strong opinions this past summer about the city’s action towards crime, Sonya Biemann said a weight has been lifted.

“It is a big relief because I’m not going to lie, this year has been a real struggle for the downtown merchants, financially,” Biemann said.

The city hopes its new overnight security patrol can take some of the credit. A one-person team tasked with scouring the city for crime and mischief overnight, following community outcry for crackdowns on break-ins and drug activity.

“It seems like things have calmed a little bit,” said Timmins Mayor Michelle Boileau.

“As long as we’re hearing that positive feedback, we’re going to continue on this course.”

A recent update to council reported 789 interactions with the public and highlights the patrol helping with 23 crimes in progress, all resulting in police response.

The fire department was called on one occasion. The patrol logged 80 incident reports, 53 involving drug paraphernalia, 26 cases of litter and one case of vandalism.

Officials are encouraged by the early progress.

“Cautiously optimistic,” the mayor said.

“It’s only data from about a month and a half worth of operations, but it indicates a good start.”

Timmins Police Service spokesperson Marc Depatie said the patrols are a deterrent to crime.

“It’s obvious and clear, so it is certainly appreciated,” Depatie said. “Our own foot patrols have been paying dividends, as well.”

The program needs some tweaks, though. The mayor wants more detailed reporting on where incidents are happening in the city, more security has been requested around places like gas stations and there’s a limit to how well a one-guard patrol can canvas the city.

Boileau said the city can look at increasing patrols during budget season, if residents want it. Council is expected to get monthly updates on how the patrol pilot program is panning out. Top Stories


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