Healthy Streets Operations Centre makes progress on community concerns   
June 22, 2023

The City of Edmonton’s Healthy Streets Operations Centre pilot is addressing safety concerns in three core neighbourhoods while ensuring that Edmontonians who need help are getting access to important social services.

Edmonton’s City Council allocated $15.2 million to fund the multi-disciplinary community safety teams in the Healthy Streets Operations Centre (HSOC), from January 1, 2023 through the end of 2024.

Community safety teams began their work in October 2022, regularly connecting with residents, business owners and others in Chinatown, Downtown and Kingsway and are in those communities Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to midnight. They focus on identifying safety issues and working with communities on solutions, using current and historical data. They provide a range of support, including proactive policing, crime prevention and other safety initiatives to address disorder.

Average total crime severity in the healthy streets boundaries decreased from 114.7 in November 2022 to 85.8 in March 2023. Crime severity fluctuates seasonally, and is expected to increase during summer months, so teams continue to prioritize proactive work to stay ahead of safety concerns.

In addition, onsite paramedics assessed 170 individual patients, thereby redirecting 113 ambulance trips, making them available for other urgent calls in Edmonton.

This pilot has taken a phased approach bringing together the City’s Community Safety Liaisons, Edmonton Police Service officers, City Community Peace Officers, Alberta Health Services Paramedics, Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Community Safety Officers and Alberta Sheriffs.

This unique multi-agency approach ensures the community safety teams can holistically address the social needs and safety concerns of those who live, work and visit these communities.

In October 2022, the teams started with EPS officers and City of Edmonton Community Peace Officers, and expanded in December to include Alberta Health Services. The City’s Community Safety Liaisons and Edmonton Fire Rescue Services Community Safety Officers joined the teams in April 2023. In February 2023, a pilot project between EPS and the Alberta Sheriffs created additional crime suppression teams.

The City is working with REACH Edmonton, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society and Homeward Trust Edmonton to provide guidance on the Healthy Streets Operations Centre, ensuring that the work on the ground is coordinated and connected to other initiatives and efforts, and that the City and its partners adapt approaches as appropriate.

“This collective effort from the social sector, law enforcement and our government partners demonstrates how we can come together to address the issues that the Chinatown, Downtown and Kingsway communities are facing. Taking a multidisciplinary approach to community safety means showing compassion and understanding for all Edmontonians, who should always feel safe and supported in our city. Thank you to everyone involved with the Healthy Streets Operation Centre for your commitment to compassion, safety and wellbeing. Together, we can build a safer Edmonton for all of us.” - Mayor Amarjeet Sohi

“Since being redeployed last fall, EPS officers have worked closely with the community,
businesses, and partners to address safety issues that make downtown, Chinatown,
and Kingsway disproportionately hard-hit by crime, victimization, and disorder. There is still much more work to do, but we are encouraged by what we are beginning to see. A multiagency approach like this is key to navigating the many intersections of health, law, and social support. You cannot have well-being without safety, which is why the right partnerships are critical to success.” - Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee

“Throughout our government's time, we have been proud to be working with municipalities to bring more safety for Albertans. Initiatives such as the partnership program between the Alberta Sheriffs and Edmonton Police Service is having a real impact on those that live and work in Edmonton’s downtown. Our government has worked hard to develop solutions for the challenges we see such as addiction, homelessness, mental health, and public safety, and we look forward to implementing more positive change for our province.” - Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services

“This pilot is focused on providing the right resources to address multiple complex issues in these communities. As the initiative progresses, we will be flexible and adjust our approaches as needed, guided by community concerns and the data.” - Jennifer Flaman, Deputy City Manager, Community Services, City of Edmonton

“This partnership is another example of how AHS EMS is bringing care to patients in the
community. Working with the community safety teams, walking the streets of
Edmonton, allows us to help vulnerable citizens get the care they need when they need
it and helps to reduce ambulance response, allowing ambulances to be available for
life-threatening situations.” - Anne MacDonald, Executive Director, EMS Provincial
“We know all Edmontonians deserve to be safe and feel safe. Collaboration is key when it comes to addressing the complex issues facing Chinatown, and the surrounding area, so it makes sense for REACH to be involved. REACH is already involved in this work through the Chinatown Safety Council and the REACH Neighbourhood Organizing Initiative. We are proud to be a part of this multi-agency project, participating in the governance of the Healthy Streets Operations Centre, alongside Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society and Homeward Trust. We know the only way to solve complex problems is by working together, and that’s what this partnership is all about.” - Jan Fox, Executive Director, REACH Edmonton.

“The impact of the last few years has been deeply felt by communities and individuals, with a mounting toll on businesses, residents, and unhoused community members alike. Working collaboratively with the homeless serving sector will be critical if we are to get back on track in our efforts to end homelessness. This goal was within reach before the pandemic and is still attainable with our collaborative efforts, despite new and complex challenges.” - Susan McGee, Chief Executive Officer, Homeward Trust Edmonton

“Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society welcomes the opportunity to be part of this initiative. We believe that by working in partnership we can help people address the safety and well-being of individuals in these areas, many of whom have experienced a great deal of trauma.” - Cheryl Whiskeyjack, Executive Director, Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society.
For more information:

Media contacts: 
Senior Communications Advisor
Communications and Engagement
City of Edmonton

Public Affairs Supervisor
Corporate Communications
Edmonton Police Service

Emergency Medical Services
Alberta Health Services