QUiet In The Skies sign now

Despite the lack of evidence showing that police helicopters play a significant role in the prevention of crime, the city of Edmonton continues to fund the operation of two police helicopters (AIR-1 and AIR-2), at an extremely large expense.

City residents are regularly awoken by the obtrusive noise produced by police helicopters hovering over their homes, making them feel unsafe in their once quiet neighbourhoods. As early as 1989, Health and Welfare Canada linked noise to health problems: Day and night, at home, at work and at play, noise can produce serious physical and psychological stress. No one is immune to this stress. The Toronto Board of Health's 2000 study, Noise and Health, documents the growing research showing unwanted noise is an increasing factor in physical and mental illness.

The invasive military-style surveillance performed by these helicopters detracts from the enjoyment of once friendly events, imposing an atmosphere of apprehension and anxiety. Constant scrutiny by anonymous police equipment will not encourage city residents to become responsible and active in their communities. Studies have shown community level policing has a far greater impact on crime reduction, building relationships with residents based on trust rather than suspicion.

QUITS (QUiet In The Skies) therefore opposes the use of police helicopters based on noise, invasive surveillance, and waste of City funds. We urge the City of Edmonton to reconsider the operation of AIR-1 and AIR-2, and instead look to community programming as a proven method of reducing crime.

Free recreation programs, improved community centres, public pools, and libraries should not be traded for police helicopters, under the guise of fighting crime.

Let us choose to spend our city budget on a more community based approach to policing, with programs that contribute to, rather than limit, the well-being our citizens. To truly enhance public safety, Edmonton must invest in developing a healthy, livable city.

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Philip WillisBy:
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Edmonton City Council

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