In recent years, we have received an increasing number of concerns from downtown business owners regarding the safety of their employees and customers. Concerns include, violence, harassment, theft, and an increase in graffiti. This has led us to shift our focus to find creative solutions to these complex issues our community is facing.
The BBA has long been engaged in work to keep downtown safe for all who live, work, and visit downtown.
- Back in 2002 we helped secure funding for and founded the Howard Center Street Outreach team. Their main goal is to work with individuals who have mental health, substance use, homelessness, and unmet social service needs. The Street Outreach team works to ensure services are accessible for all individuals and helps keep downtown safe by addressing concerning behaviors that require intervention, but not emergency services.
- In the Fall of 2021, we launched the Downtown Safety Ambassador Program, an initiative focused on ensuring our downtown service workers made it home safely. This project was made possible by the support and donations from our members and other key stakeholders in our community.
- With this concern of safety in mind and in an effort to give back autonomy to the employees, the BBA has hosted training programs over the last few years, including De-Escalation training, co-hosted by the Howard Center and Loss Prevention Training, co-hosted by Outdoor Gear Exchange and the Church Street Marketplace Commission.
What we’re working on now:
- Fundraising to support the Howard Center Street Outreach Team – In light of recent challenges working downtown the team is looking to buy stab-proof vests. This is not something that is currently in the team’s budget and requires outside funding. The team needs six vests with a total cost of $4,000.