Aug.31, 2005

Police outreach program keeps the peace in McMaster neighbourhoods

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Constable Peter Hannon, one of the officers patrolling the beat 691 area.

Hamilton, ON - Residents near McMaster University will continue to benefit from an increased security presence in their neighbourhoods throughout the coming school year.

McMaster University and the McMaster Students Union will pay for two off-duty Hamilton Police officers to patrol the Ainslie Wood/Westdale neighbourhoods on Friday and Saturday nights from September 2005 to April 2006. These resources are in addition to the regular Hamilton Police Service patrols dedicated to this area on an ongoing basis. While the program allows officers to keep an eye on crime, if also serves an important outreach function letting officers meet community members before problems begin.

During a pilot program which ran from January to April of this year, the West Hamilton community saw quicker response times and fewer noise and disturbance calls compared to previous years.

“Our officers are able to work proactively by visiting certain addresses in advance of receiving any noise complaints,” said Hamilton Police Service staff sergeant Scott Rastin. Before the patrols began, police had received nine noise complaints in January. Once the patrols were implemented on January 14, there was only one noise complaint for the rest of the month. Response times also reduced from an average of 24 minutes to nine minutes.

Rob Payne, president of the Ainslie Wood/Westdale Community Association of Resident Homeowners Inc. (AWWCA) said local residents noticed an improvement once the patrols began. "We are pleased to see McMaster working proactively to improve the quality of life for permanent residents and students living around the campus. “

Roger Trull, vice president, university advancement, said, “McMaster works closely with the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Police Service, the AWWCA, and the Westdale BIA. These partnerships are important to us, and allow us to work towards our common goal of preserving the quality of life we all enjoy in West Hamilton.”

McMaster Students Union president Tommy Piribauer said, “I am pleased that students can be a part of the solution to enhance the community for everyone. Based on the success of the pilot, we are pleased that the program will be continuing again in September.”

McMaster University, named Canada’s Research University of the Year by Research InfoSource, has world-renowned faculty and state-of-the-art research facilities. McMaster's culture of innovation fosters a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University has a student population of more than 23,000 and more than 112,000 alumni in 128 countries.