University of Alberta to fund safety improvements at HUB Mall

The University of Alberta has allocated funding to improve safety and security at HUB Mall.
The University of Alberta has allocated funding to improve safety and security at HUB Mall. Global News

The University of Alberta is taking action following student concerns regarding safety in and around HUB Mall.

The university has allocated approximately $600,000 from the Campuses and Facilities Safety and Security Working Group to implement new safety and security measures at the mall which also doubles as a student residence.

“We’ve all advocated for increased safety at HUB for years,” said Jared Larsen, president of the Hub Mall Community Association. “To see that kind of money come through from the University is big news.”

The new improvements will follow an assessment that is currently being conducted by Urban Security Innovation.

READ MORE: Students in University of Alberta’s HUB call for security boost

The Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design assessment will consider a number of concerns that have been raised by students in the past.

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“Our goals are to increase safety and reduce crime while following building code and ensuring that all of our stakeholders are properly consulted with before moving forward with any ground break,” Larsen added.

Larsen said those consultations with students and stakeholders are currently underway. He says they hope to see a number of recommendations come out of the report that could be implemented immediately like the use of card locks on doors.

A recent survey of students found many are concerned about an increase in the number of incidents in or near HUB, especially during the overnight and weekend hours.

“Everyone’s pretty optimistic about the future and what’s to come,” Larsen said.

The university recorded 661 incidents in 2017, compared to 419 in 2014. At the end of November, there had been 537 reports in 2018.

Trespassing has accounted for the largest proportion of the incidents in 2018, followed by theft. The report also lists two assaults and one sexual assault.

HUB experienced about three times the amount of trespassing and suspicious persons situations as any other U of A building in 2017, according to a separate June report.

“The changes are necessary because HUB mall is a student residence,” Larsen said. “They expect a warm and safe environment and to have doors open 24/7. Having disproportionate crime levels through HUB is something that the students union and HCA are working to improve.”

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The university said an additional $600,000 could also come from Ancillary Services depending on what the report concludes.

The money is part of the University’s proposed $1.2-million renovation fund.

The project is expected to be completed by August.