July 7, 2019 8:34 pm
Updated: July 10, 2019 8:37 pm

If the area feels unsafe, pin it on a new City of Edmonton app

WATCH ABOVE: The City of Edmonton is using an app to identify areas where people don't feel safe, Sarah Komadina has more.

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The City of Edmonton is asking the public to let them know if an area feels safe or unsafe.

SafeCityYEG officially launches on July 17, but already more than 1,500 people have put in their opinion, paired with comments on why the area is good or bad. People made note of things like lighting, if the area is crowded or even if people have been assaulted.

READ MORE: City now testing app to learn where people don’t feel safe in Edmonton

Good areas are marked with green check marks and bad areas are marked with red Xs.

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Edmonton Coun. Bev Esslinger said they’ve been working on the map for about four years and the idea came from the city’s involvement in the United Nations Women, and Safe Cities and Spaces initiative.

READ MORE: World leaders in Edmonton to discuss making public spaces safer

“We are able to get people that experience the city, and say we don’t feel safe here, and this is why, and to understand from their perspective why they don’t feel safe there,” Esslinger said.

Esslinger said the goal is primarily to help women and girls feel safer in the city, but it will ultimately make everyone feel safer.

Watch below (July 10): A new City of Edmonton app allows people to pinpoint areas in the city where they feel safe or not. Despite the good intentions, some worry the information may be skewed. Vinesh Pratap explains.

Some problem areas are already emerging, like Whyte Avenue and Jasper Avenue.

Mohamad Madi owns a hair salon in a strip mall along Whyte Ave. He said he knows the area is suffering.

“Lots of drugs,” Madi said. “People are scared to come to this area anymore.”

LISTEN BELOW: Councillor Bev Esslinger joins the 630 CHED Afternoon News

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He wants the city to help the strip mall become safe so he can keep his doors open.

“It’s very hard for us. We need action from the city, not just an app,” he said.

Esslinger said they are collecting data from the app for a year to identify problem areas and move forward to fix them.

“Hopefully, we will be able to have [the public’s] help and understand what it is and target investment to improve it,” Esslinger said.

“Then hopefully we can make those unsafe spots safe spots.”

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