Calls to Edmonton police rise after Rogers Place opening

Demolishing the Coliseum no easy task but should have been anticipated, prof says

Crime has been on the rise in the area around Rogers Place since Edmonton's new arena opened its doors downtown.

And it's not just illegal parking.

That's according to a new report that will be presented to city council's community and public services committee on Monday, detailing the economic and social effects the Rogers Place development has had on the neighbourhood since September.

The Edmonton Police Service has reported an increase in crime and calls for service in the immediate vicinity of the arena since it opened — specifically for "'trouble with person' complaints and warrant executions," according to the report from the city's sustainable development branch.

However, reports of violent crime in the area have fallen, and police attribute some of the rise in complaints to proactive police work.

"The increase in calls for service is due primarily to pre-emptive work by officers, as calls from the public have decreased 7.8 per cent," the report says.

"The increase in calls for service had been anticipated, and was addressed with changes to resource deployment and scheduling accordingly."

Serious crimes like assaults and property crimes have decreased, the report said.

Overall, people in the area around the arena feel safe, according to the results of a January survey that are included in the report to committee.

A full 61 per cent of respondents to the Responsible Hospitality Edmonton poll said they feel "safe" or "very safe" in the area of the Warehouse District and Rogers Place, as compared to 3.8 per cent who reported feeling "unsafe" or "very unsafe."

Parking tickets up, LRT ridership down

The report offers other indicators of life in the Ice District since the arena opened.

Alberta Health Services has reported a five per cent decrease in the number of emergency and non-emergency calls in the communities around the arena in the six months since it opened, compared with the same time period last year.

LRT ridership during the first two months after Rogers Place opened its doors was approximately 15 percent lower than what the Northlands Coliseum LRT station experienced following events.

Since Rogers Place opened, more than 7,100 parking tickets have been issued — primarily for parking in restricted areas, parking too close to signage or parking in accessible zones without a permit.

An assessment by Oilers Entertainment Group estimates that the nine nights of Garth Brooks concerts at Rogers Place in February brought around $42 million into the Edmonton economy.