VIDEO: Drug Use And Mental Health Issues Dominate Talks At Public Meeting

Drug use and mental health issues dominated talks at a public meeting in downtown Windsor.

The meeting drew in more than 100 people to the YMCA on Victoria Ave. Wednesday night.

The Downtown Residents Association and the Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative joined forces to give the community a voice on issues effecting their neighbourhoods.

Many residents asked about concentrating police in problem areas and response times — some saying that police simply don't get there fast enough.

Windsor police Inspector Jason Crowley says response times will always be based on priority.

"When we have life and death situations to deal with that will be a priority. Police are sent out based on how serious a situation is," says Crowley. "We take every call seriously, we are a service, we'll be there, but depending on what's happening at any given time, we may not be there right away."

Crowley told AM800 News there's a real understanding of how frustrated people might be, but police are doing their best to come up with a long term solution.

He says throwing more police at the problem will help the effected areas, but that will only force the problem to move.

"The downtown core is a very concentrated area, and that's why I think the problem seems more obvious than another areas that are more spread out," he says. "We definitely direct patrols, we're directing vehicle and bicycle patrols in those areas. We're not trying to displace the problem, we're trying to solve the problem."

He told the crowd part of the problem is finding people with mental health or drug issues somewhere to get the help they need.

Crowley says sometimes police simply have no where to take them.

That's a roadblock he says needs to be overcome, and people are working hard to do it. He says money is becoming available to help deal with a problem that's effecting the entire country.

"The transitional stability centre downtown is in the works to assist  with our programs, the mission is offering beds for some of the people in crisis to have a place to stay. There are some strategies in place."

Kate Isely lives at Park and Pelissier St.

She's been the victim of theft on several occasions and is constantly calling police to have squatters removed from the hallway of her building.

Isely says police have been responsive, but there needs to be something done on a larger scale.

"Definitely more community outreach, more police officers in our streets, and it's going to cost more money," she says. "Instead of wasting money on ripping out retail maybe we should invest it in core services so that our hospitals can actually accommodate individuals that need those beds and help."

Input gathered from residents will be used to direct future plans in downtown Windsor.