Joint Statement on Community Safety

Oct 16, 2020

For Immediate Release
October 16th, 2020

Joint Statement on Community Safety

I would like to assure the residents of Greater Sudbury that your safety is paramount to me. I want you to know we are doing everything we can, along with our community partners, to protect you and keep you safe.

There have been many discussions about the state of the downtown. I am in constant contact with the downtown BIA and its members to find solutions to some of the issues faced there. I am meeting with staff to help clean up the downtown and employ measures to keep it safer.

This is a very difficult situation. Mental health challenges and addictions are illnesses and they have been heightened by COVID-19. We are working with our many partners to find solutions. Recently, we partnered with the Centre de Santé Communautaire to assist as a drop in centre, with navigators to help people in crisis.

We have been collaborating with the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions to assist with the opioid crisis through requests for feasibility on safe consumption site and a youth hub. We've funded a needle recovery program. And The Off the Street Shelter is now open to assist those who require overnight housing and medical care.

I want you to know that we are seeing these types of issues across the community, but also across the country. I, as your Mayor, along with our Council, are doing everything we can to help our citizens, where possible. Our community is successful and at its best when we collaborate and work together. The following statements demonstrate that we are listening and working collaboratively together to support you.

Mayor Brian Bigger, City of Greater Sudbury

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The Greater Sudbury Police Service is proud to serve the City of Greater Sudbury and we recognize and understand the ongoing concerns regarding the perception of Public Safety in the downtown core. Through our Downtown Strategy and working in collaboration with our community partners, we are committed to addressing the issues and concerns associated to our downtown. The perception of Public Safety has significantly declined during the COVID-19 pandemic with many of our vulnerable population being displaced into the downtown core. We recognize that the increased visibility of homelessness and those living with addictions and mental health illnesses impacts the perception of safety, however we know that enforcement is not a suitable or sustainable way to address these concerns. We continue to work with our community partners through the Community Drug Strategy, Community Mobilization Sudbury and the Downtown Strategy to make wraparound services accessible to our most vulnerable population.

Through the Downtown Strategy, we have seen a steady decrease in the calls for service over the past couple of years. Since March of this year, the calls for service downtown have decreased by 20% with the most notable decrease being violent crimes that are down 37%. We know that the serious assault that occurred on October 14 on Elm Street is not a direct reflection of the downtown core. It was a targeted and isolated incident involving two individuals known to each other.

As a Police Service, we have two Officers dedicated to the Downtown core, as well as, the Community Mobilization Unit, the Central Community Response Unit and our Tactical Unit who have conducted over 380 Focused Patrols on foot, on bikes and in cruisers since May.

Through Our Shared Commitment to Community Safety and Well-being we will continue to work with our community partners to address the issues in the downtown core ensuring the proper agencies and resources are responding to the various situations that impact the downtown core and the perception of Public Safety. We are committed to making sure that Greater Sudbury continues to be a safe place to live, work and play.

Chief Pedersen, Greater Sudbury Police Service

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The environments where we live are critical to our health and well-being. While health care and lifestyle behaviours are important, we know that health is also the result of social and economic factors and conditions that influence the daily environments in which we live, work, play, learn, and grow. Public Health Sudbury & Districts has a long history of working to improve health equity to ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full health potential.

We are proud to work shoulder to shoulder with so many partners to build stronger communities. Every person deserves the opportunity to be healthy and to practise healthy behaviours. Effective action on the social determinants of mental health means understanding and addressing individual factors, for example, social exclusion, trauma, racism, homophobia, and transphobia, while also acknowledging and addressing societal factors, from poverty and income inequalities, housing instability to food insecurity and our built environments.

We are committed to understanding and shining a light on systemic and often hidden prejudice in support of opportunities for mental health for all.

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health, Public Health Sudbury & Districts

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