Police program helps downtown Sudbury businesses mitigate risks

Sgt. Matt Hall of the Greater Sudbury Police Service is the supervisor of the community response unit that has focused patrols in the downtown core. (Alana Everson/CTV News)

The opioid and homeless crisis in Sudbury has had some negative impacts on the downtown core. Now, the Greater Sudbury Police Service said it’s working with community partners and businesses to try and mitigate some of those issues, including focused patrols downtown.

Sgt. Matt Hall is the supervisor of the community response unit, which focuses on issues downtown.

“We work a lot with our community partners as we sit on lots of boards, committees and tables when it comes to the vulnerable person crisis issue that the community is going through right now with Memorial Park and other places downtown,” said Hall.

The service offers a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Program (CPTED). Officers consult with property owners on how to mitigate problems and crime.

“Outlines that could be for lighting, video surveillance of blind spots, sightlines into the business, having debris around the business being cardboard or pallets that people might use to burn,” said Hall.

The YMCA consulted with police through the program when it had some theft problems.

“Just by putting up signage, it did let people know that there had been thefts in our facility,” said Kendra MacIsaac, vice-president of health and wellness at the YMCA.

“So it notified our members to keep an eye out -- as well as those who might have been inclined to do these crimes to let people know that we were watching.”

Police have some advice for keeping alcoves secure: have security gates or some other structure to block alcoves if you have individuals doing unwanted things after business hours.

The Greater Sudbury Police said downtown patrols on foot, bike and vehicle have increased by 12 per cent in 2021.

So far this year, the service has consulted with 30 businesses on mitigating risks and crime.