Midland residents and business owners 'fed up' with crime downtown
Published Thursday, October 17, 2019 5:42PM EDT
Midland residents and business owners say they are 'fed up' with the crime and disorderly behaviour tarnishing the downtown.
"I have been fielding concerns from some of our members about open drug use, needles lying around, aggressive behaviour, panhandling, prostitution, violence in the workplace." The Chair of the Downtown Midland Business Improvement Area and owner of Grounded Coffee, Scott Campbell, has appeared before town council on several occasions. He wants to put a stop to the unsafe practices plaguing the area.
"It definitely needs to be treated as a top priority," Campbell says. "I'm going to keep pushing for action. I'm not going to sit idly by. We need to start addressing some of the top concerns, both short term and long term, and actually follow it through."
Police say they continue to patrol downtown routinely, while the mayor calls it a complicated matter with no short-term answers.
"Is Midland alone? No. Is Midland able to cope with it? Well, I believe we can. But it wasn't created in a day, and it's not going to be resolved in a day," says Mayor Stewart Strathearn.
The mayor says downtown business owners should put safety measures in place, such as adding lighting and more security cameras. "Those are things they can take responsibility for, in protecting their own premises, and their customers."
Strathearn goes on to say there has been "a reluctance of merchants to report through the communications centre to the police," stating retailers may be afraid of "retaliation."
The town says it is working with the County on a 'community safety action plan,' something that was approved by the previous council in 2018.
Mayor Strathearn says police presence has been increased to help deter any crime. "Is the downtown safe? Absolutely."