Walker Kwok owns businesses in Chinatown and is an active member of the iconic downtown community.
He’s among a group of area entrepreneurs who helped form a partnership with police to reduce crime and keep the neighbourhood safe during spring.
On March 23, members of 52 Division and the Chinatown Business Improvement Area, of which Walker Kwong is a director, met at the corner of Dundas St.W. and Huron St. to announce the launch of Project Blue Rooster
For the next 10 weeks, there will be an increased police presence in the community.
“This partnership has paid off,” said Kwok. “Each year, business owners look forward to seeing more police around here.”
This is the seventh year of the project.
Officers will provide a heightened presence in the area and will be proactive by visiting local businesses and reviewing crime-prevention strategies.
“Shoplifting from retail businesses, mainly the supermarkets is one of the owners’ big concerns around here,” said Constable Yu Ya Chou, the Division’s Chinatown Neighbourhood Liaison Officer. “Mischief to property, including graffiti and breaking into vehicles, is also an issue. With the weather getting good and more people coming out to shop and do business, the business people always look forward to seeing more officers.”
Superintendent Scott Gilbert said the partnership has been great for both sides.
“We intend to keep it going that way,” he said. “Our analysis has shown that crime has been reduced in the 10 weeks that this project runs for. Even though officers might not be as visible after it ends, the education and awareness that we provide help them not to be victims down the road. Some initiatives we did last year in relation to car break-ins are still paying off because people are more aware of what’s going on and taking precautions by not leaving valuables out in the open. They are also reporting suspicious activity and, as a result, the number of car break-ins that we have had reported to us has dropped significantly.”
In addition to the project, police will conduct workshops and presentations to raise awareness for seniors. The Seniors Safety campaign workshops will be conducted in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
“This will provide valuable information about fraudulent scams that seniors are vulnerable to,” said Chou, who is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.
The project ends on May 29.