A municipality’s public safety department can play an integral roll in the safety and branding efforts of the city’s downtown historic commercial districts. Many municipalities have programs in place that assist the downtown in providing valuable services to ensure that residents, workers and visitors feel confident about their personal safety and have positive downtown experiences.
From an economic development perspective, public safety in the downtown district is an imperative for business recruitment efforts and attracting patrons to the existing businesses and events.
In Powder Springs there is a public safety program in place to ensure that the historic commercial district is walkable, graffiti free and a place that people want to visit and spend time with their family and friends.
Powder Springs bicycle officer in downtown Powder Springs.
“We consider the downtown area to be one of the most treasured aspects of our city,” said Powder Springs Chief of Police John Robison. “From a police perspective, one of our major objectives is to do our part to enhance the quality of life of our residents and our business owners and employees. We feel that as we serve the downtown area, this helps accomplish that objective for the residents who are spending time downtown as well as the businesses that operate there. A safe downtown is one that is informed and patrolled.”
This year the Powder Springs Downtown Development Authority has partnered with the police department to provide the business community with a training seminar on best safety practices for business owners.
Partnering with the city police department is the first step in creating a downtown public safety program. A downtown public safety program should also include: crime reporting procedures for businesses, a means to deal with panhandling, assisting the homeless by connecting them to social services, checking in on businesses, graffiti prevention and removal, and implementing a regular patrol.
Last year, the Powder Springs Public Safety Department formed a new bike patrol unit. One of the main objectives of that unit is to spend time riding through the downtown area. Foot patrols and bike patrols help provide extra protection for the residents and businesses in the downtown area, as well as, allowing the officers to build relationships with business owners and employees. With a focus on hospitality and safety solutions, a good downtown Public Safety program can augment downtown branding and economic development efforts and contribute to the overall quality of life in your community.
Stephanie Aylworth is the Economic Development Director for the city of Powder Springs and serves on the Georgia Downtown Association board of directors.