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New pilot project partners City of Winnipeg, True North, Downtown BIZ to reduce crime

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ CEO Kate Fenske says collaboration and information sharing is essential to improving safety.
Downtown Winnipeg BIZ CEO Kate Fenske says collaboration and information sharing is essential to improving safety. Joe Scarpelli/Global News

A pilot project to improve safety and public confidence in downtown Winnipeg is being launched.

The Downtown Safety Partnership (DSP), as it’s called, includes the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, True North Sports & Entertainment, City of Winnipeg and Winnipeg Police Service.

“For years we’ve been figuring out how we can work together because we can’t figure it out on our own,” Downtown Winnipeg BIZ CEO Kate Fenske said.

READ MORE: Women feel more unsafe than ever downtown: Winnipeg police survey

The first phase of the DSP will be in the form of a pilot project and supported by the Winnipeg Police Service, according to Fenske.

The goal of the project is to see partners, like private security and Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Watch Ambassadors, work collaboratively and share information in real-time.

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“Technology and enhanced partnerships can improve the collective response to safety concerns in the downtown,” Fenske told Global News. “The DSP will focus on visibility, data and outreach so resources can be coordinated, deployed and addressed more effectively.”

Greg Burnett, a former police officer who most recently worked for Manitoba Justice, has been hired by True North to lead the project as its director of safety initiatives.

“The best thing about it is it’s not just talk,” Burnett said. “There’s going to be walk with it.”

Greg Burnett has been hired by True North Sports and Entertainment as its director of safety initiatives.
Greg Burnett has been hired by True North Sports and Entertainment as its director of safety initiatives. Joe Scarpelli/Global News

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Many details, such as who will pay for what and the area the DSP will cover, are still being worked on.

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“There’s a lot of people doing a lot of good work out there,” Burnett said. “We just have to coordinate somehow under one umbrella and move it forward.”

The DSP is taking inspiration from safety models in North America, including Minneapolis, which both Fenske and Burnett went to see this summer.

Learn more about this partnership at Global News at 6 Monday.