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Public Safety Programs Help Create Positive Downtown Experiences

February 10, 2015  |  Stephanie Aylworth
Stephanie Aylworth
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.
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