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Violent crime in downtown North Bay drops by 25%, police chief says


Statistics released by North Bay police show there has been a dramatic reduction in violent crime downtown.

Chief Scott Tod addressed the police services board Tuesday, unveiling statistics from January to October, comparing them to violent incidents in 2022.

Tod said he is pleased to see work being done downtown is paying off. Statistics show violent crime is down 25 per cent compared to last year.

"To me, that's significant that the level of violence has been reduced in such a small geographical area of North Bay,” Tod said.

Police continue working with health and social agencies in the area, along with other groups to address fear and safety concerns of people who work and shop downtown.

Tod sat down with the Downtown Improvement Area (DIA) to listen to their concerns.

"What we've been saying for quite some time is there needs to be changes at the provincial level with the Mental Health Act and there needs to be changes at the federal level with catch-and-release justice,” said Downtown North Bay and Waterfront executive director Amber Livingstone.

Statistics show violent crime in downtown North Bay is down 25 per cent compared to last year. (Eric Taschner/CTV News)

When you crunch the numbers, calls for service downtown police from January to October are up by 17 per cent compared to 2022.

“Downtown officer-generated calls for service for example would be traffic stops, addressing suspicious persons without a complaint, looking at people there are in situations of homelessness, addiction and suffering from mental illness,” Tod said.

But through these numbers, property crime also dropped by 33 per cent compared to last year.

"The DIA was quite clear that we need to do more as a police service,” said Tod.

“But they also appreciate that's it not just policing alone and there are other agencies involved."

Moving into next year, the chief said he wants to establish what he described as a "community engagement team," depending on budget approval.


Tod envisions it as a way of recruiting extra special constables to patrol hot spots downtown to reduce fear and ensure safety for all.

"What we're hearing is they want people on the street. They want people walking and talking,” he said.

“Not necessarily acting, but they want someone in the downtown to support our constables in that area."

Livingstone said the idea would work if officers were seen pounding the pavement.

“I think that might make a bit of a difference,” she said.

“It was good to have a chat together and find out how things are going and share our views with each other.”

In April 2022, as part of the police service’s five-year strategic plan, there were suggestions that the police agency was considering opening a second police station downtown.

City police did have a downtown office in the late 1990s. Tod said it closed its doors because it wasn't feasible to continue.

“The cost of that is quite extensive. It’s about $3.4 million,” he said. “I will argue that we are a downtown office compared to many other police offices and centres. We’re six blocks away from the downtown area.”

Tod reiterated that having that extra police presence will further deter crime in the downtown. Top Stories

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