No spike in crime or 911 calls at ‘Tiny Town’ after reopening

CHEK

The 30-unit shipping container community that was created in Victoria during the pandemic has been reopened this year, given the urgent need for housing.

The news that it was being restored caused some community concern over safety, but data from Victoria Police shows no spike in crime since it reopened.

Caledonia Place, formerly known as Tiny Town, has been up and running since March. It gives temporary shelter to unhoused Victorians who were previously occupying parks and sleeping rough in the capital city.

“I haven’t seen any real difference at all,” said Alex Kerr, former president of the North Park Community Association, who has lived in the community for almost 20 years.

“I live in the area, and I haven’t really noticed anything,” said Eliana Snell, who also lives in North Park.

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Their experiences are a far cry from some of the community safety concerns raised when it was announced the site would resume operations.

“Absolutely, it should be gone. That’s what we all agreed to,” North Park Community Association president Sean Kahill told CHEK News in February 2023.

Coun. Stephen Hammond, who was vocal about his concerns with the facility, says he’s pleased to see things running relatively smoothly.

“There are still issues in particular for people who don’t have fences where people are coming out of the property or stealing a few things, but she said the incident tend to be a couple times a week as opposed to every day or a number of times a day,” said Hammond.

Spike in service calls that some anticipated hasn’t appeared

According to VicPD crime analysts, since 30 residents moved into Caledonia Place in March, there’s been no major spike in crime.

“Calls have not spiked in the surrounding area since the reopening of the temporary housing facility, and May 2024 call volumes were below previous years,” Griffen Hohl told CHEK News in a statement.

“I don’t think I’m really surprised because I think that housing solves a lot of the issues that lead to calling 911,” said Kyla Schnellert, who spends the majority of her time in the neighbourhood.

Coun. Krista Loughton says this time around, there’s no pandemic and the resulting stress to contend with, but also better community integration.

“I’m doing a lot of that work behind the scenes right now to try to improve that for the city,” said Loughton.

While underreporting to police may be a factor, Caledonia Place seems to be integrating well into the surrounding neighbourhood at first glance.

Kori Sidaway

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