One Vernon councillors wants the city to investigate hiring a private security firm to help with issues surrounding the downtown core and, possibly, other areas of the city. (Black Press - file photo)

Vernon councillor seeks cost info for hiring private security firm to help combat petty crime

Scott Anderson said ‘presence of more uniforms is a deterrence to crime in and of itself’

One Vernon councillor wants city staff to investigate the cost of supplementing seasonal security at night by a private firm in specific locations more subject to petty crime, as identified by RCMP and bylaw.

Scott Anderson said locations may include, but are not likely limited to, the downtown core.

In his notice of motion, Anderson said private contractual security “has the advantage of being quickly scalable according to requirements, unlike current force availability.”

“Private contractual security is likely more cost effective than attempting to seasonally scale up bylaw or RCMP,” wrote Anderson in his motion. “The presence of more uniforms is a deterrence to crime in and of itself. Private security can operate at night when bylaw is either not available or otherwise deployed.”

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Anderson believes hiring private security will send a message to “numerous audiences, including perpetrators, businesses and citizens,” that Vernon takes safety and security seriously, and is doing everything possible to maintain the city as a safe location in which to live and do business.”

Council unanimously supported Anderson’s motion, along with another one calling for a garbage can to be installed on city property behind the Real Canadian Wholesale Club on 28th Avenue, and one on city property on 33rd Street near the Gateway Shelter. Staff is to report back on both motions on Aug. 19.

Staff will also investigate a notice of motion by Coun. Kari Gares to revisit and discuss a handful of recommendations from the Activate Safety Task Force that could offer alternatives to the issues around crime, open drug use and vagrancy that haven’t yet been considered.

That report would be due in September.

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