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Regional Police safety blitz in university district sees 69 per cent increase in charges

"Project Safe Semester" is a month-long safety blitz conducted in the university district
WRPS cruiser 3
Blair Adams/KitchenerToday

It hasn't even been a week, and already Waterloo Regional Police have laid 115 charges as part of a month-long safety blitz in the university district.

Regional Police say they've had an increased presence there, as part of "Project Safe Semester."

"It's about safety, it's about respect for your neighbours," says Regional Police Inspector Al Green, "We appreciate the students in our community and everything that they bring with them, just be safe, be respectful, be good neighbours."

It includes a door-knocker event in the district and done in collaboration with campus police at both the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, Conestoga College, Waterloo Fire and the City of Waterloo's by-law officers.

The campaign has already resulted in 115 charges --- a 69 per cent increase from the same time frame in 2017.

It also represents a 40 per cent increase on a five-year average, according to Green.

"It's a significant number of charges," he says.

The 2018 charges thus far includes: 

  • 22 Liquor Licence Act
  • 79 Highway Traffic Act
  • 3 Trespass to Property Act 
  • 1 By-Law
  • 8 Other
  • 1 CDSA
  • 1 Criminal

Green says because not all students were in the area when the initiative began August 26, not all charges were laid on students.

"Because the totality of the student population was not yet back in the first week, (resources dedicated to the program) could spend a little more time focusing on road safety in the university area," he said, "Looking specifically for what we call the 'big four'...and of course moving violations of all sorts."

The "big four" being distracted and impaired driving, speeding and use of seatbelts.

He also adds the increase could have to do with changes made to the program for 2018, enabling them to focus resources more directly to it than in prior years.

"We are committed to ensuring the safety of all students as well as the entire community," says Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin, "We will maintain an increased presence in the Universities and College areas to discourage public disorder incidents and unlawful and unsafe behaviour. We want students to have a great experience as they kick off their new academic year, but we want that experience to be a safe and respectful one. It's about being respectful to yourself, each other and the community as a whole."

Green says they'll be in the area all the way up to Homecoming Week.

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