May 15, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DOWNTOWN SECURITY NETWORK LAUNCHES PUBLIC SAFETY CAMPAIGN WITH SPECIAL PHONE NUMBER: 958-SAFE
WINNIPEG—Downtown Security Network members with Winnipeg Police Chief Keith McCaskill, the Downtown BIZ and AAA Alarms, launched a new public safety campaign today, Friday, May 15, at 11am at the MTS Centre, 2nd Floor atrium overlooking Portage Avenue.
The launch included the unveiling of a new public safety campaign that empowers the public with a single phone number—958-SAFE (7233)—to report minor downtown safety issues such as aggressive panhandlers and for SafeWalks. As part of the partnership with premier sponsor AAA Alarms, the public can also dial #SAFE from their MTS cell phone. The DSN continues to grow and will also launch a special website, www.dsnwinnipeg.com <http://www.dsnwinnipeg.com> , designed by Modern Earth, as a one-stop spot for downtown safety resources.
The Downtown Security Network (DSN) has signed up over 80 members since it started in December 2008. The network connects downtown business owners, property owners, and security teams with each other and with the police and BIZ in order to make downtown safer.
The public safety campaign includes decals with the 958-SAFE number on bus shelters and posters in business windows, as well as bus shelter ads and SafeWalk business cards. The number directs to the Downtown Watch, who will then promptly respond to concerns. Emergencies are still to be directed to 911.
“We want to not only help Winnipeggers feel safer, but we want to empower them to help us create a safer downtown,” says Stefano Grande, Downtown BIZ executive director. “If they see something suspicious or out of place happening, it’s easy to call us, and our staff are out on the street, downtown, ready to respond.”
The DSN website, www.dsnwinnipeg.com, includes information about the DSN, lobbying efforts, safety programs and news. The members-only area has a message board where members can share their issues and ideas. There is also a members-only e-Alert system whereby members can send out messages to all members. Issues like shoplifting or a string of car vandalisms will be communicated immediately to police and the broader network, encouraging everyone to be alert.
For example, if a parking lot has a series of car break-ins, a message can be sent so everyone can take extra precautions on their own parking lots. Another example is if a shoplifter is caught on camera, the photo can be circulated to the group to be on the lookout for the suspect.
Already, the new program has seen several successes. For example, a shoplifter was spotted in cityplace and left the building, heading north. Cityplace phoned the MTS Centre and phoned the Downtown BIZ, and the shoplifter was tracked until the Winnipeg Police Service arrived and apprehended the individual.
The Province of Manitoba, through the Manitoba Housing Authority has come on board as a member to improve downtown safety. With many of the MHA’s 8,000 city units located in and around downtown, they will help connect the residential sector to the commercial sector. It’s hoped that this solid commitment to the downtown will spur more residential property owners to follow their lead.
The Downtown Security Network (DSN) is a Downtown BIZ-led, Winnipeg Police Service-endorsed safety initiative. The DSN allows members to share resources and communicate immediately about safety issues so that each member can take extra precautions to protect their customers, employees and property when crimes occur, as well as keep an eye out for suspects.
Visit www.dsnwinnipeg.com for more information and to download the DSN Fact Sheet.
For more information, please contact:
Jennifer Verch, Manager, Communications & Marketing
Ph: (204) 958-4626 Cell: 297-0219