It is sometimes difficult to enforce bylaws related to loitering as people have the right to be in public spaces when they are not violent or disruptive to the general public. The City of Red Deer and its partners continue to respond to complaints of loitering and plan for places and spaces where we can minimize the negative behaviours that sometimes result from people congregating in public spaces.

In some cases, loitering is linked to a lack of available services, including but not limited to, wifi access and places for people experiencing homelessness to charge their cell phones.

The numbers

  • Between January and September 2018, The City received numerous complaints from downtown businesses related to concerns with loitering.
  • Between January and September 2018, Red Deer RCMP issued 475 tickets for disturbing the peace, 266 tickets for mischief and 85 for other related offences such as loitering, swearing in public, noise complaints and trespassing, to name a few. These tickets were all issued based on offences in the downtown.

Current Actions

  • Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) standards, which help reduce the potential for crime, are applied when planning for, designing and constructing all municipal public spaces and places in our city.
  • RCMP and Community Peace Officers are conducting ongoing and increased patrols downtown.
  • The Downtown Business Association (DBA) Clean Team monitors loitering behaviours as they conduct daily clean-ups and asks people to move along.
  • Some downtown businesses have disconnected power from their outdoor outlets to minimize loitering on and near their sidewalks, alleyways and businesses where people experiencing homelessness have charged their devices.

Ongoing Strategies

  • Planning for future public washrooms in the downtown area.
  • In October 2018, The City considered the Community Housing and Advisory Board’s reallocation of $335,000 in operating funding for the purposes of immediate daytime support services in Red Deer. However, this is a temporary solution, and The City of Red Deer continues to call on the Province for funding of a 24/7 shelter with on-site support services.
  • Red Deer City Council continues to press the Province of Alberta for funding of local daytime support services within a 24/7 shelter with on-site services. To date, the Province of Alberta has not supported or funded this initiative.

The City, through its Annual Policing Plan, directed the RCMP to focus on downtown. In 2019, six new officers will join a downtown Crime Reduction Team with loitering being just one of many anti-social activities officers will be tasked with changing.

Related Links

Housing and Homelessness
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design