WINNIPEG — The Government of Manitoba announced a $5 million investment into a downtown Winnipeg safety initiative on Friday afternoon.
Justice Minister Cliff Cullen said the money will help the city focus on improving the health, well-being, and safety of downtown Winnipeg.
“Whether you live, work or play Downtown, we want to make sure everyone feels safe in the heart of Winnipeg, and the Downtown Safety Partnership expands on a community model that focuses on relationship building, respect, and partnership,” said Cullen.
The provincial investment will allow Winnipeg’s Downtown Safety Partnership (DSP) to transition into a permanent, not-for-profit organization.
With the investment, the DSP aims to expand the presence of downtown community outreach and safety teams and extend outreach hours to allow a 24-7 presence in key areas.
It will also launch a new community service team consisting of community support workers who can address situations that do not require a police or paramedic response.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said the initiatives will free up police to enforce the law, arrest criminals, and solve crimes.
“We really need to find ways to be more efficient in how police and how other emergency resources are allocated and dispatched,” said Bowman.
The DSP is also establishing a 24-7 Downtown Safety Communications Centre that will facilitate real-time information sharing among downtown safety partners and support existing downtown agencies.
“Today’s funding helps us build an expanded, permanent, community-centred outreach presence that provides the right resources and support at the right time,” said Kate Fenske, CEO of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “This model builds on past successes and puts renewed focus on proactively addressing community needs so everyone Downtown feels safe and welcome.”
Further operational details about the Downtown Safety Partnership will be announced in the coming weeks, the minister noted.
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