close
close

Letter: Downtown Fargo is extremely safe – InForum

Letter: Downtown Fargo is extremely safe – InForum

The forum recently published an article titled “Downtown is Extremely Safe” which also includes quotes from officials that allay the concerns of some that it is unsafe to spend time downtown. I would like to share my experience. I have spent a fair amount of time in downtown Fargo and have never felt unsafe during the day or at night.

It seems like a lot of the concern is about the homeless. For the past four years, until my retirement in March, I parked on the street near the Downtown Community Engagement Center every weekday. I passed people using the center every day without incident.

Sometimes I have seen police officers assist someone with alcohol, drug or mental health issues, or mediate a conflict between two homeless people. I have never seen innocent bystanders involved in the situation, and the police officers handled the situations excellently.

I have concerns about the plan to potentially move the center out of downtown. The center is not near restaurants or retail stores, so its current location is not that disruptive. The same people who use the center also need access to the Salvation Army to receive at least one meal a day.

Rather than trying to hide marginalized residents, as Commissioner Peipkorn has suggested, I think it would be more compassionate and productive to request additional funding for the center. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

There have been recent presentations about how Fargo could reduce its homeless population using the “Housing First” model that has been so successful in Houston and other major cities. What’s the next step for Fargo?

We already have a safe city center, but we could improve the conditions for all residents by prioritizing this critical issue.

Beth Bradley lives in Fargo.