Connaught Closure Sees Crime Drop
Prince George RCMP Superintendent Warren Brown and Mayor Lyn Hall talk about reduced crime stats- photo 250News
Prince George, B.C. – In the three months since Prince George City Council lifted the business license of the Connaught Motor Inn at 15th and Victoria, calls for RCMP service to the area have dropped by 67%.
RCMP Superintendent Warren Brown says calls for service to an area in a 100 metre radius of the site he called a crime hot spot, dropped by 50% in the first nine months of this year, compared to the same period last year. He credits the drop in calls for service entirely to the closure of the Connaught.
The City refused to renew the business license for the Connaught Motor Inn in July, giving the property owners a long list of conditions that would have to be met before that license would be reinstated. The owners did not make the necessary changes by the initial October 1st deadline, and while work that can be done without building permits continues on the site, there is no telling when, or if, the property owners will be able to meet all the necessary conditions to
reopen their business.
“I would say that at the end of the day, we have met our goal for ensuring community safety for not only the vulnerable people who lived here, but also for those businesses and other people who frequent the area.” says Supt. Brown.
Mayor Lyn Hall says the reduced calls for RCMP service to the area is “Extremely good news for us today” he adds “This is something we were hoping would happen when we took action to suspend the Connaught’s business license.” He says the calls for service numbers were “staggering” and that the amount of time RCMP had to spend dealing with calls at the Connaught not only impacted the RCMP budget, but also on what the RCMP could do in other areas of the City.
“This was not just the first, we continue this remedial action throughout the community” says Mayor Hall in fact, the efforts being undertaken to force property owners to clean up their act in Prince George, was the subject of a presentation by Mayor Hall at last month’s meeting of the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
By shutting down the Connaught, has crime just moved to other areas? Superintendent Warren Brown says no “I have done a thorough analysis of the City and we have other hot spots but this (the Connaught) was likely the most focused and concentrated area for crime to happen in the community.” Supt. Brown adds, “Specific to this location because of the premise, it drew a particular crime type to here, so I will say, this was not complicated to deal with. We have challenges in other areas, but it became one issue here which was responsible management.”
The City continues to wait for the owners of the Connaught to meet the conditions for license renewal says Mayor Hall “The ball is certainly in his court.”
In the meantime, the owner does have a security guard on the premises to ensure the building does not become a haven for squatters, and continues to make those repairs and upgrades that can be done without a building permit. “From our perspective we are hoping he ( the owner) redevelops this corner, or sells this corner to an investor who is interested in developing it” says Mayor Hall.
Bylaw Services Manager Fred Crittenden says the owner still has the opportunity to meet the conditions “But we are still waiting for confirmation on a work plan and permits he would require to get it up and running to satisfactory conditions that Council has approved. If that happens, I think it would be a win- win for everyone.”