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                                                                    4. What research/information is
Public Order/Disorder                                                   available regarding the                 2
(M. Phair)                                                              breakdown of public order and
                                                                        actions to solve public disorder?
                                                                    I would like this report to return to the
Recommendation:                                                     Community Services Committee.
That the April 29, 2008, Planning and
Development Department report                                   Report
2008PDD006 be received for                                      This report was forwarded to the
information.                                                    Edmonton Police Service/Commission
                                                                for review and comment. This report
Report Summary                                                  was forwarded to the Edmonton Police
                                                                Service/Commission for review and their
This report provides information on                             comments are contained in
standards to handle public                                      Attachment 3.
order/disorder from other cities.
                                                                   There are many types of public
Previous Council/Committee Action                                   order/disorder concerns the police or
   At the May 26, 2008, Agenda                                     municipal enforcement staff are
    Review Committee meeting, the                                   expected to address. These can
    April 29, 2008, Planning and                                    range from anti social behaviour to
    Development Department report                                   criminal actions and from
    2008PDD006 was postponed to the                                 panhandling to allowing nuisance
    June 23, 2008, Community Services                               conditions. While some public
    Committee meeting.                                              disorder is planned well in advance,
   At the June 19, 2007, City Council                              a significant amount is spur-of-the-
    meeting, Councillor M. Phair made                               moment. After consultation with the
    the following inquiry:                                          inquiry maker a review of
                                                                    panhandling and public behaviour
       I would like the following                                   type bylaws was the intended focus
       information from Administration                              of the inquiry.
       with input from the Edmonton
                                                                   This report should be considered in
       Police Commission and Service:
                                                                    conjunction with the “Panhandling”
    1. What standards of public                                     (S. Mandel) report which provides
        order/disorder have cities                                  bylaw options to deal with
        considered and/or implemented                               panhandling. The “Panhandling”
        (examples might include                                     report sets out three bylaw options to
        Saskatoon and Vancouver)?                                   address what seems to be a growing
    2. In reviewing bylaws and police                               negative reaction by the public to
        policy, what is currently in place                          either control or eliminate
        to handle public disorder?                                  panhandling.
    3. Are there areas that either                                 Option one builds on existing
        Administration or Police might                              legislation within the current Traffic
        suggest need to be                                          Bylaw 5590. The current language
        reconsidered?                                               sets out that no person shall crowd,
                                                                    jostle or harass pedestrians in such

ROUTING – Community Services Committee | DELEGATION – M. Garrett
WRITTEN BY – D. Aitken | April 29, 2008 – Planning and Development Department 2008PDD006
Page 1 of 3
Public Order/Disorder (M. Phair)

    a manner as to create or cause                 services are required to address the
    discomfort, disturbance or confusion.          health, housing, employment,
    This current offence section is                education and social problems
    arguable well suited and sufficiently          panhandlers face. And, unless the
    broad enough to address any                    systemic problems and gaps in
    aggressive type panhandling                    service and supports are bridged,
    behaviour not criminal in nature.              preventing people from panhandling
    However, the “Panhandling” report              may only drive them to access funds
    makes the suggestion that existing             in other ways, not all of them legal.
    powers be expanded to include all             With respect to updating public
    public spaces and to increase the              behaviour legislation, people seem
    fine amount.                                   more concerned about anti social
   Option two proposes the creation of            behaviour as reflected in the
    a new bylaw that would prohibit the            increase in complaints to police and
    asking or soliciting for money from            bylaw enforcement areas and
    any person. Consideration would                increased support for tougher
    also be given to legislative scope,            penalties. Excessive noise, anti-
    sensitive locations, set back                  social behaviour, causing nuisances
    distances, exemptions, fine amounts,           and violence impact quality of life.
    and enforcement impacts. Council               Vancouver recently solicited input on
    would need to decide if there is               public disorder setting in motion
    sufficient justification to support what       plans to find long-term sustainable
    maybe a violation of equality                  solutions to maintain order and
    provisions and free expression                 civility. Highlights from their survey
    rights.                                        indicate panhandling, open drug use,
   Option three outlines drafting a               litter, public urination and sleeping in
    bylaw similar to the City of Winnipeg.         public spaces as the major public
    Edmonton may wish to consider                  concerns. See Attachment 2.
    drafting legislation similar to               Respondents to the Vancouver
    Winnipeg‟s earlier more restrictive            survey indicated their overwhelming
    efforts; however the likelihood of a           need to feel safe in all parts of the
    legal challenge is significant. In the         city, feel a sense of pride in their city,
    alternative, consideration could be            people want to be solution
    given to adopting Winnipeg‟s 2005              orientated, people recognize issues
    bylaw that identifies sensitive                are complex and recognize many
    services and prohibits solicitation at         aspects of street disorder are
    an ATM or bank, public pay phone,              symptoms of underlying root causes
    transit stop, downtown walkway,                of poverty drug addition and mental
    entrances to restaurants etc. See              illness.
    attachment one                                Edmonton recently requested public
   The report highlights that stopping            input to a number of proposed public
    this activity requires measures that           behaviour bylaw amendments
    go well beyond bylaws that simply              through the Bylaw Consolidation
    restrict panhandling. External                 Project Phase II. Those results were
    reports suggest a range of targeted            provided to City Council in August

Page 2 of 3
Public Order/Disorder (M. Phair)

    2007. Phase I of the project saw             implementation of legislative
    Council approved the creation of two         sanctions to deal with public
    new functional, modern and                   disorder. The Service also felt that
    foundational pieces of legislation to        any legislative change should be
    address community and public place           accompanied by a well formulated
    standards. The result was a                  media/public awareness campaign.
    strengthening and broadening of             Noteworthy is that much of the
    existing public order legislation.           literature commissioned by other
   During the Bylaw Consolidation               municipalities points to a much
    Project efforts were made to solicit         broader approach than just a bylaw
    input on a number of possible public         solution. The monitoring of public
    behaviour amendments. These                  disorder and establishing broad
    questions followed a similar pattern         stroke action plans are key in
    to those recently adopted in Calgary.        resolving these issues.
    Results from an online public survey,       In conclusion, the standards for
    open house input and detailed                public order and regulations
    discussion, with a public advisory           governing public disorder are wide
    committee, found some public                 and ranging. Edmonton City Council
    behaviour concerns identified lacked         has recently review public behaviour
    the necessary support to be brought          standards through the Bylaw
    forward at that time.                        Consideration Project and is
   In February and March of 2008, City          currently considering panhandling
    Council approved public behaviour            regulatory options. Additional work
    legislative enhancements to the              or input on specific disorder issues,
    Community Standards and Public               current or future could benefit from a
    Places Bylaws. Council also                  more focused review.
    approved in the 2008 budget a            Attachments
    number of community support
    programs and enhanced                    1. Summary of Winnipeg Bylaw
    enforcement services that are able to       Restrictions
    address some identified community        2. City of Vancouver, Office of the
    concerns.                                   Mayor, November 2006
   Public disorder concerns are             3. Edmonton Police Service - Response
    regularly reviewed by the various           to City of Edmonton Reports
    enforcement agencies. Efforts to            2008PDD030 and 2008PDD031
    remain responsive and adaptive to           Panhandling / Public Disorder
    ongoing and future concerns are
    critical elements in addressing public
    disorder matters. Public order
    policing continues to balance
    governmental and societal demands,
    collective and individual rights, and
    interests in society.
   Discussions with the Edmonton
    Police Service found support for the

Page 3 of 3
                                                                                                           Attachment 1

  Summary of Winnipeg Bylaw Restrictions

                                         Table 3.3. Summary of By-Law Restrictions

By-law        Distance     Time                   Sensitive Services                                         Other
1995               X          X     -    the main entrance to a bank, credit union       -   Regulates panhandling.
                                          or trust company;                              -   Prohibits a person from continuing
                                     -   an automatic teller machine;                        to ask another person for money,
                                    -    a public entrance to a hospital;                    or continuing to follow that
                                    -    a bus stop;                                         person, after a negative response
                                    -    a bus shelter;                                      had been made.
                                    -    in a Public Transit bus;                        -   Sets penalties
                                    -    in an elevator or in a pedestrian walkway;
                                         from an occupant of a motor vehicle,
                                         which is parked, or stopped at a traffic
                                         control signal.

2000                                                                                     Regulates obstructive solicitation by
                                                                                         - to obstruct or impede the
                                                                                             convenient passage of pedestrians
                                                                                             in a street;
                                                                                          - continue to solicit or follow a
                                                                                             pedestrian after that pedestrian
                                                                                             made a negative initial response;
                                                                                          - verbally threaten a pedestrian; and
                                                                                          - physically approach a pedestrian
                                                                                            as part of a group of three or more

2005                                Prohibits solicitation in the situations:            - Regulates obstructive solicitation.
                                    - at an automated teller machine, a bank or          Amends causes of obstruction by
                                       credit union;                                     prohibiting:
                                    - at a public pay telephone;                         - to obstruct or impede the
                                    - at public transit stop or taxi stand or in            convenient passage of any
                                       transit buses;                                       pedestrian or vehicular traffic in a
                                    - in elevators;                                         street;
                                    - in the downtown pedestrian walkway;                - to solicit a captive audience.
                                    - getting in, out of, on or off a vehicle, or
                                       who is in a parking lot;
                                    - while seated in an outdoor area of a
                                       restaurant or bar in which food or
                                       beverages are being served.

  Panhandling in Winnipeg: Legislation vs. Support Services. Volume 2: Literature and Legislation Review. May 2007

  Page 1 of 1                            Report: 2008PDD006 Attachment 1
                                                                                  Attachment 2

City of Vancouver, Office of the Mayor, November 2006


On September 22, 2006, Mayor Sam Sullivan launched a survey about public disorder in the
City of Vancouver, posted on his website In just a matter of days,
hundreds of Vancouver citizens had logged on to provide their views on issues such as
aggressive panhandling, littering, open drug use and noise infractions. The survey closed
November 1, 2006, with a total of 2,469 responses received. Based on the results, it is clear that
many Vancouverites feel that our City has a serious public disorder problem and that action
must be taken.

Of the almost 2,500 people who completed the survey, 1,909 people took the time to provide
specific comments or observations based on their own personal experience or their perceptions
of the conditions in their neighbourhoods. Below is a summary of survey responses as well as
some of the specific themes and ideas that emerged from the public feedback.

General Findings and Observations

The web-based survey was designed to elicit public response and feedback and was not
intended to replace more traditional public opinion surveys. Although the respondents were self-
selected, the survey (both the open-ended and closed-ended) questions helped to provide
important insights. Based on the findings of the survey, it was clear that:

   Vancouverites care about their city! There were a total of 2,469 responses received
    from across all parts of the city – in English, Chinese and Punjabi - with more than 20
    neighbourhoods represented;
   Of those who responded to the survey, more than 75% took the time to provide
    comments about specific conditions in their neighbourhoods. The responses to the
    open-ended questions tended to range from general observations and/or concerns
    through to personal stories or experiences. Some respondents also tried to identify
    potential remedies to address the problems they had identified.


   84% of survey respondents feel that public disorder problems in Vancouver have
    become worse in the last 5 years;
   81% are very concerned that Vancouver is losing its international reputation; and,
   67% feel that City Council must take immediate action to address the problem.

Page 1 of 4                 Report: 2008PDD006 Attachment 2
                                                                                   Attachment 2

Complete Results

1. How would you describe City Council's efforts thus far to address public disorder issues?

2.07% __Good: Council has done all that it can to reduce public disorder

23.21%__Fair: Council has made some progress, but could do more

66.87%__Poor: Council has not done enough to tackle this problem and must act now

7.86%__Don’t know

2. How do you think Vancouver's reputation has been impacted by public disorder?

3.81%__No impact – I don‟t believe our city‟s reputation has suffered

13.41%__Minor impact – I am somewhat concerned but feel that most visitors don‟t notice
public disorder in Vancouver

80.88%__Significant impact – I am very concerned that Vancouver is losing its reputation as a
safe destination

1.9%__Don’t know

3. In reference to public disorder, which of the following statements is closest to your personal

83.8%_ Over the last 5 years, public disorder has increased (it has become worse)

13.65%_ Over the last 5 years, public disorder has remained constant (no change)

2.55%_ Over the last 5 years, public disorder has declined (it has improved)

4. Please indicate which of the following public disorder issues are of most concern to you
(check all that apply):


83.35%_Aggressive panhandling

70.68%_Sleeping/camping in public parks or on beaches

41.07%_Noise infractions (e.g. loud motorcycles, stereos, car alarms)

Page 2 of 4                  Report: 2008PDD006 Attachment 2
                                                                               Attachment 2

79.63%_Open drug use in public places

48.60%_Graffiti and tagging

12.47%_Cyclists not wearing helmets

62.29%_Public urination/defecation

66.83%_Excessive garbage on streets and in alleyways



5. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for reducing public disorder?

[1,909 responses received]

6. Please tell us which neighbourhood you live in:


The following represents common themes expressed in the 1,909 comments submitted by
survey respondents:

1. People need to feel safe in all parts of their City;
2. People want to feel a sense of pride in their City;
3. People want to be compassionate and solutions-oriented;
4. There are circumstances where an individual‟s conduct violates what should be the
   community norm;
5. People recognize that the issues are complex and multi-dimensional and that many
   aspects of street disorder are symptoms of the underlying root causes of poverty, drug
   addiction and mental illness.


    Based on responses to the open-ended questions in the survey, more than 22% of all
     respondents believe that there is a need for both community-based solutions as well
     as broader social „safety net‟ solutions to address issues related to housing and
    Approximately 20% of all survey respondents see a need for stronger enforcement of
     laws and by-laws in the City of Vancouver.

Page 3 of 4                  Report: 2008PDD006 Attachment 2
                                                                                 Attachment 2

   Only a very small percentage (1.5%) said they feel that the current harm reduction
    strategies to address drug addiction (including the safe injection site) were working to
    address the issue of public disorder and crime. Rather, the survey findings suggest
    that a larger number of respondents feel there is a need for “tough love” designed to
    help those challenged with mental illness and drug addiction to get the services that
    they need.
   The general observations and conclusions related to the current harm reduction model
    also applied to panhandling and binning. Within this context, some survey respondents
    believe that the need for panhandling and binning reflects a failure of society and
    represents part of the ongoing “infrastructure of poverty”. These individuals tended to
    stress the importance of looking for longer-term solutions rather than simply moving
    people through the system, or displacing the problems from one neighbourhood to
   Other survey respondents expressed concern that panhandling and binning made
    them feel unsafe, with a number of respondents describing specific instances where
    they had a negative experience.
   A number of survey respondents indicated that their concern rests more with the
    negative image that panhandling and binning can create. Those who held this
    perspective reported that they had recently traveled to other international destinations
    where they had expected to see similar problems or worse. In some cases,
    respondents reported that they were “shocked” to find that other cities did not have the
    same incidences of panhandling and binning.

Page 4 of 4                 Report: 2008PDD006 Attachment 2

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