RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Raleigh city leaders gathered on Tuesday morning, for the second time, to figure out how to make downtown safe again.
The previously scheduled meeting came just one day after a 15-year-old was shot in the chest at a GoRaleigh station near Moore Square Magnet Middle School.
Officials spent a lot of time talking about public health services and the need for more resources to get the homeless population housed, and funding more mental health programs.
Getting downtown Raleigh safe again is going to take a lot of time and a lot of money.
“These issues are not necessarily going to go away,” said Bill King, the President and CEO of Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
City leaders put their heads together on Tuesday, tackling one issue and one area at a time.
One of the main hotspots for trouble is the transit center.
Officials are working on hiring private security, but some of the firms they’ve been in contact with have their own stipulations.
“They were not willing to provide service if their personnel were not able to get armed,” officials explained. “Not only for the safety of their personnel but their perceptions of the risk associated with the current environment.”
The cost to hire private security for the transit area would be less than the $300,000 threshold that would require a city council vote.
The area will get additional security teams, it’s just a matter of when.
They believe this could help curb crime. However, officials said they need to figure out how it will impact their technology and operations.
Downtown Raleigh Alliance has already hired private security to enhance its Ambassador team.
They will be unarmed guards.
DRA’s private security will start on October 31st, and work seven days a week, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
The trial period lasts until June 30, 2024.
“We want them to be walking around, creating a noticeable presence to deter any criminal activity, notifying police immediately when witnessing any illegal activity,” explained King.
The Ambassador program is getting a lot of use.
Downtown Raleigh Alliance is also expanding its surveillance camera network.
It’s currently being installed.
The hope is that this will lead to more collaboration between local business owners and Raleigh Police.
“There are a number of cameras in the downtown area, but access to those is pretty challenging. So, when an incident happens, it takes a long time to get any evidence of what happened. We’re hoping this can speed things up, and maybe even lead to some more proactive reactions,” explained King. “So, if you’re seeing an incident start to brew late at night in Glenwood South in the public right of way, there’s a potential to deploy resources there faster through this.”
King explained it’s going to take a lot of teamwork to make downtown safe again.
“We really need a long-term durable plan for securing our downtown. This year got to a place that was not acceptable for downtown,” he said. “We do not want to be in a situation next year where warm weather picks up and we’re right back at it, and at our heels trying to figure out what we can do.”
These safety meetings are monthly. The next one is scheduled for November 28th.