Sault Downtown Association wants more access to crime stats on downtown core
SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association is calling for the Sault Police Service to release more neighbourhood-specific crime stats.
According to the association, it's looking to get more stats geared towards specific areas of the city's downtown core, which will help it plan more for crime prevention in the future.
"Especially with COVID, people are concerned if there might be more crime or less crime," said Salvatore Marchese, the association's executive director. "We just don't have that information, so it's something we're looking for to receive in order to address our concerns."
In a text message, board member Paul Mason said he'd also like to see crime data presented in the form of a crime map, which can already be seen in municipalities across the north.
Thunder Bay and Sudbury for example, have their information posted to cityprotect.com, he said.
"I don't think as an association, that's something we're currently driving for," said Marchese. "I understand that's a feature that a lot of people would like to see, but we really just need to have more information on what's going on, so some type of report or numbers."
The Sault Police Service said the request for neighbourhood-specific statistics is not something it's been asked to share in the past and have rarely, if ever, given them out.
But, Police Chief Hugh Stevenson said police are committed to being as transparent as it can be.
"In my three years here as chief of police, we've always done accumulative analysis of statistics," he said. "Those have always been shared at our monthly board meetings and are available."
Sault police and the downtown association have also adjusted how those statistics are shared with the board.
From now on, members of the police service will no longer sit in on public board meetings, unless there's a matter specifically concerning them on the agenda.
Instead, private meetings will be set up ahead of time whenever a request for statistics is made, giving police more time to have what's been asked for ready to view.
"We're more than happy to sit down with the downtown association," Stevenson said. "All I ask is that if we have a request for information, we get it in advance of the meeting and we'll be more than happy to explain exactly what the numbers mean."