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Feeling dangerous in downtown Edmonton? You are not alone, says the news

Edmonton's problem of homelessness, theft and harassment continues to be a problem, a new report released by the Downtown Business Association suggests.

The association issued a report on Wednesday Security and security in the heart of Edmonton, based on a contribution from 60 participants at the workshop in November 2018.

The conclusions are based on contributions from participants, including representatives of the city of Edmonton, police services, community leagues, property managers, EPCOR, universities and city dwellers.

The report states that business owners are frustrated by the fact that more homeless people use their space to rest, shelter or heat.

"Challenges to people experiencing homelessness are intensifying in Edmonton," the report said.

The report also said that most people who are homeless are not dangerous.

Coun. Scott McKeen, whose Ward 6 is centered in the center, cited possible reasons for the increased perception of homelessness: economic conditions, opiates and less open space in the center.

It is silly that we did not solve this issue.– Coun. Scott McKeen

"If despair in our city is more visible, I'm not dissatisfied with it," said CBC News Wednesday. "The Edmonton need to know that it is there, and they need to strengthen their MLA and their members of parliament and their city councilors to solve this problem."

The report also suggests that people understand homelessness and its causes are one of the biggest problems.

The seminar participants found that missing affordable housing and resources are likely to be the main cause of the problem.

The report came out one day after Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson once again urged provincial and federal governments to help finance affordable housing.

This is the area that McKeen and other councilors say will concentrate on them for several years.

"I'm a little frustrated," McKeen said. "It's silly that we did not solve this issue, in any way, but it's definitely the government that works and communicates well."

McKeen has repeatedly remarked that the police and the health care system spend billions on homelessness and mental health.

Theft, harassment, graffiti

The workshop also discussed theft, panhandling, harassment and graffiti as several areas of interest.

The Business Association report states that "little is done" to curb the theft.

It took too long for the police to respond to theft complaints, the participants of the workshop said. There is also a perception that theft is a low priority for the police.

Coun. Scott McKeen says that sustainable housing and other resources for mental health and addiction are key to a city with greater security. (Trevor Wilson / CBC)

The report indicates that there are more graffiti in the city center than last year.

As for dealing with harassment complaints, the police have insufficient resources or can not fully address the problem, the report says, and people are avoiding certain areas because they are afraid of being harassed.

"Perception is not always associated with reality, but it is a strong determinant of human preferences about where and when they go out."

The association said it wants to work with community groups to try to improve safety and has launched a number of steps, including building better relationships, more education issues and reporting to make sure they are properly documented.

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