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New Downtown Raleigh Safety Officers Hit Streets

Posted December 19, 2006

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— Downtown ambassadors in Raleigh are known for their hospitality, but on Tuesday, they started helping clean up crime as well.

As many as 13 new safety ambassadors will be on the streets 18 hours a day, six days a week, to keep the downtown district safe, especially around parking areas.

The push to get more security downtown came after the murder of Cynthia Moreland. The Wendell woman was kidnapped from a city parking deck in August, and her body was found 10 days later in rural Harnett County.

"It made us very, very nervous. We did not feel secure. We complained a lot to the city," downtown worker Sue Helmke said of Moreland's slaying.

The Raleigh City Council agreed to spend more than $220,000 for the new safety patrol.

"They've learned everything from how to write good reports to being a really good witness to recognizing the signs of gangs," Police Chief Jane Perlov said Tuesday, noting each member of the patrol has gone through 80 hours of training.

The members aren't armed, but each carries a radio linked to police officers.

The new downtown safety team has a number of primary duties, including communicating with police about ongoing issues downtown, looking out for crime and criminal activity and monitoring parking areas and streets. They will also assist in emergency situations and give visitors information and directions during special events.

"It's just a point of being more visible. If they see you out there, they aren't going to try anything hopefully," downtown safety officer George McDougald.
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  • reyinral Dec 21, 2006

    Any crime of this sort is so unnecessary. Our taxes should be spent on more protection for ALL employees downtown, that includes State employees as well. I, too, had to walk three blocks to my building to and from work each day. Rainy, cold, dark days, with no one walking with me. Each employee that has to walk that far takes their chances to get safely to and from work every day. I doubt seriously that any of the many State employee parking lots will have any security whatsoever. They never have had any protection for employees in the past.

  • Wake and District Dec 20, 2006

    I would feel much safet in downtown Raleigh with more police officers on the street - not garbage collectors with police radios.

  • newssaavy72 Dec 19, 2006

    I used to work downtown for a year and a half back in 2001-02. I did not like having to park and walk four blocks to my car. Me and my co-workers used to all leave together to keep from walking alone. This time of year gets dark quick, so it is not safe! There are a lot of strange people lurking downtown and that is everywhere you go, but that area is just TOO different! All of the tall buildings give way to alleys and plenty of places for people to hide and strike unsuspecting people. Yes, you can't always prevent things from happening, but if people at least know that someone somewhere maybe watching, they will think twice before committing crimes. I work with one of Mrs. Moreland's relatives and not a day goes by that I don't forget about what happened. It was just senseless! With all of that construction and years gone by, measures like cameras and patrol should have already been put in place. Why do we pay taxes!!!

  • spamthissucka Dec 19, 2006

    Why would you complain to the city? It is very unfortunate that Cynthia Moreland suffered the fate that she did, but no reasonable number of officers or other officials can prevent crimes like this from occurring.