Kitchener's Downtown Discovery Team- Connect and Protect
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Alfred Rempel, a long time Kitchener resident, advocate of the Schneider Creek Neighbourhood association and member of the Downtown Discovery team. He, along with 10 other members of the Working Centre who have had street experience, stroll down the streets of Kitchener in pairs with the goal of having more eyes on the street, helping those in need and connecting the community.
This new approach to combatting difficulties in the downtown core is an initiative brought forth by Linda Jutzi of the Downtown Kitchener Business Improvement Area and aims to connect and protect the community. Combining resources of local residents, the Working Centre, BIA and Police Services, they are able to reach a wide range of people and deal with situations where traditional policing may not be as effective. By assessing whether or not police presence is necessary, they can ensure the correct services are provided for those in need, maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of our local resources.
Their people- helping- people approach allows those in trouble to feel more comfortable compared to situations where they are worried about getting involved with the police. And it gives those who may have needed help at one point the opportunity to give back to the community.
To me, this initiative is representative of everything that Downtown Kitchener stands for: connecting all of its’ residents, protecting the integrity of the downtown core, providing opportunities for everyone and ensuring that DTK remains a safe and connected community for everyone to be proud of.