Hamilton Police Core Patrol pilot to continue, possibly expand in the future

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About nine months into the program, Core Patrol has reportedly led to 75 arrests and over 230 charges. Photo Credit: Hamilton Police/X.

The Hamilton Police Service (HPS) will be continuing its Core Patrol pilot program in the city’s downtown.

Core Patrol, which was introduced in June 2023, sees two officers monitor the downtown, primarily by foot.

The program was originally running each Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM, but the schedule has now changed to 10-hour shifts covering Monday to Saturday.

The introduction of the program came after requests for more patrols from multiple businesses in Downtown Hamilton including both downtown BIA executive directors.

Businesses such as Denninger’s on King Street, Sheraton Hotel, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and Staybridge Suites had all expressed concerns with the state of the downtown to the police board.

Those concerns included reports of shoplifting, abusive language, assault of workers, car break-ins, aggressive panhandling and other antagonistic behaviours, trespassing, loitering in front of businesses, drug dealing, drug use, robberies, and property damage.

Now, about nine months into the program, Core Patrol has reportedly led to 75 arrests and over 230 charges.

Police also report that there were 17 people who were arrested more than once.

Despite the arrests, at least two businesses, Denninger’s and G.W. Thompson Jeweller, say that they want the program to be expanded.

Although they note that the Core Patrol program has helped, representatives of the two businesses wrote a letter to the Police Services Board detailing that the program needs to consist of more than just two officers.

They contend that it is not impactful enough to only have two people to patrol the entire downtown core and informed the board that they are still experiencing a high level of criminal behaviour.

However, Deputy Police Chief Ryan Diodati noted that staffing challenges prevent the program from being easily expanded.

Despite that, Hamilton Police Chief Frank Bergen did say that the police force will look to expand the program “wherever possible.”

“I will make sure that we work together with our team to continue [Core Patrol] and, wherever possible, expand it,” said Bergen.

Diodati also noted that a big part of the Core Patrol program is community engagement whereby officers forge relationships with business owners and those they walk by on the streets.

The community engagement aspect of the patrol is also the reason why it’s always the same officers patrolling the same area each day.

He called community engagement “a key piece” of Core Patrol and that HPS does not want to lose that aspect of the program.

However, he added that they are encouraging their officers “to maybe walk a little quicker.”

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