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Saskatoon credit union closure prompts calls for more community policing

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Community leaders are reacting to the announcement that the St. Mary's Affinity Credit Union will be closing down due to safety concerns.

After decades serving the Pleasant Hill community, the location on 20th Street West will be closed permanently on April 5, 2024.

“Over the past year and a half, our St. Mary's Advice Centre has encountered a series of incidents that have given rise to significant safety concerns and operational challenges,” CEO Mark Lane said in a letter to members.

Community leaders say crime has been a growing issue for years.

“Crime has been an issue in Pleasant Hill for years and years,” said Shane Partridge, community safety officer with the Pleasant Hill Community Association. “The last few years though it has built up and compounded.”

Partridge says people going to businesses don't feel safe on the streets, and that’s why they’ve been calling for alternative response officers from the city.

“Just for reasons like this — to be visible out in the community and to make a difference in prevention rather than always being an intervention service,” Partridge told CTV News.

Mayor Charlie Clark says he knows the community is in need of additional resources, especially the area around Prairie Harm Reduction and the hospital.

“I certainly realize very much that area is a big hotspot, between the hospital, Prairie Harm Reduction, and the activities around there and a lot of the services,” Clark said.

“A lot of the discussion around additional officers and additional alternate response officers is to help to address some of the issues that we’re seeing in those areas.”

Partridge says it's time the city stops talking and gets officers on the streets protecting residents.

“That [where] the discussion stops for one, and we actually get officers on the streets,” he said. “We’ve been discussing this for months and months and months, we’ve been advocating for years.”

Partridge said it’s disappointing to see a business that has supported the community for decades close.

“They’ve been such a staple and a hard working business in our community,” he said.

“From decades of sponsoring events, to sharing warm spaces with residents who might be walking past in a minus 30 day, and asking to duck in the bank for a second, to providing financial resources to the residents in an atmosphere where the people in the bank understand where they’re coming from. That’s what’s going to be missed in our community.” 

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