Pubdate: Fri, 15 Dec 2006
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Amanda Street


BIA Urges The Public To Report Any Illegal Behavior On Front Street

THOROLD -- Downtown businesses want to get drugs out of downtown.

At a Business Improvement Area meeting Tuesday, the committee learned 
of recent discussion at a Community Policing Committee meeting where 
the problem was discussed with members of the Niagara Regional Police Services.

Joanne Buzila, a concerned resident and business owner on Front 
Street, reported the discussion to the BIA noting it is up to the 
individual to defeat the problem.

"It's time for the individual to make a stand," she told committee 
members. "I don't see this kind of problem in downtown 
Niagara-on-the-Lake, we need to step up."

She said programs like the BIA's downtown watch will only be 
successful if businesses participate.

BIA chair Serge Carpino said the viability and success of such 
programs comes from the promptness of police reports.

"You can't do it the next day, or an hour later. You have to make the 
report right away," Carpino told business owners and committee 
members. "This is an ongoing problem and hopefully through the fruits 
of the two committees we can get the drugs out.

"They are out in broad daylight conducting their business and 
harassing our business owners. We can't let them continue to conduct 
their business as usual."

Councillor Mike Charron, who was a former council representative for 
the BIA said the problem is reports are not being made to the police, 
He said he has spoken with police officers regarding the problem and 
they only receive a handful of reports in any given month.

"No one is calling in the reports," Charron said. "That makes it hard 
for the police to serve the public if they only get a few calls a 
month. Hopefully, the downtown watch will make a difference in that.

"If downtown wants to see the problem go away they have to get involved."

During the policing meeting last week members of the NRP said they 
were going to try and increase the police presence in downtown 
Thorold. Const. James Taylor and Sergeant Robert Schottlander were 
going to bring up the issue at a board meeting later this week.

"We are not going to get regular patrols downtown," policing 
committee chair Bob Sagness told BIA members. "But they are going to 
do more patrols downtown and make themselves known."

Carpino said the only way to make the change a long-term change for 
Thorold is to continue reporting and make sure the police do regular 
patrols on a long-term basis.

"We've seen it in the past where we'll have two weeks of overkill and 
then it will go back to normal," Carpino said. "We can't let history 
repeat itself."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom