Maple Ridge council has doubled security in the downtown by adding another guard for vehicle patrols and a second guard on foot to watch over Memorial Peace Park.
The extra manpower has been in place as of May will allow for another 11-hour shift for the downtown mobile patrol and an additional eight-hour shift for Memorial Peace Park.
Besides the previous allocations for mobile and foot patrols, there was also a part-time guard at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre.
The city also helps fund security costs for the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association.
Council approved a resolution allowing the increases at its May 7 meeting.
It’s estimated it will cost the city another $13,000 a month, which will be drawn from the city’s police reserve account. It currently contains $9.5 million.
However, it’s not known for how long the extra patrols will be in place.
Patrols could be increased further to extend after 11 p.m. at an additional cost of $8,000.
More discussion with council will be required for the longer term, said city chief information officer Christina Crabtree.
In addition to the increased number of guards to patrol in the core area, the security guards will be wearing high-visibility protective vests, similar to those worn by police.
Council also discussed forming a downtown security task force that would address immediate issues and would include the involvement of the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association, which has its own safety and security committee.
“We just want to make sure that we’re getting all the feedback that we need to find out what’s going on so we can make proper decisions,” Mayor Mike Morden said previously.
Maple Ridge’s annual security budget for the downtown is $150,000.
The extra security will be integrated into the community safety plan that’s currently being developed by staff.