Being safe, and feeling safe is paramount for successful downtown living and doing business. Everyone who visits or lives downtown, wants the security and peace-of-mind of knowing they are in a safe environment. Downtown Kalamazoo has a very low crime rate. However, like any neighborhood, and any central business district, where there is critical mass, there is also more opportunity for people with ill intention to engage in behaviors that ultimately negatively impact others. Today, we can say that we work hard toward reducing those opportunities through effective initiatives that address both real and perceived safety concerns.
The Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated Safety Committee
, working closely with Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, the business & property owners as well as its residents, reviews monthly the needs and issues of downtown Kalamazoo and responds with projects and programs that help to keep the area safe.
Here are many of those initiatives:
Community Police Officer
- Fully funded by DKI, this full-time position is dedicated to the Downtown Development Authority, schedule varying and dependent on the summer festival schedule. Our Community Police Officer Chris Hancox has been the assigned officer since 2007, when the position was first created. Officer Hancox's priorities are prevention and education, working closely with the business and residential community to identify issues, trends, and concerns.
- Provided through the Sheriff's’s department of the Mounted Division through donations to the organization, this has become a successful crime prevention tactic during high trafficked events.
Lighting - Through careful observation and analysis, over $120,000 in lighting upgrades have been made over the last three years throughout downtown and continue to be identified. Attentions have been given to parking lots, ramps, alleys and other corridors. Often requiring new posts and fixtures, many of the changes are conversions to brighter bulbs that better illuminate using a whiter, brighter light. Input from the community is always welcome for continued improvements in this area.
Parking Ramp Improvements - The committee has overseen and directed major changes in all of the public parking ramps (Arcadia, Epic and Kalamazoo Mall Ramps) by repainting the interiors with a reflective, white paint, adding white lighting, and installing surveillance cameras in each facility.
Panhandling Education -
Doing business and living in downtown Kalamazoo with compassion for those less fortunate is a downtown goal. Meant to target behavior, and not economic condition, pan handling is illegal in the downtown Kalamazoo area through specific ordinances in place to help manage the frequency, aggressiveness and location of panhandlers. Materials have been produced to help understand legal and illegal behavior, identify resources for those who are in need, and ultimately, to encourage "saying no" to panhandlers if asked.
- DKI issues Safety Alerts via email on an as-needed basis to its downtown business community in as timely a fashion as information is made available, and as deemed appropriate. Downtown business owners, property owners, workers and residents are all encouraged to provide their email contact information to receive these alerts.
For more information, contact Brian Persky at 269.344.0795.