Members of Lethbridge City Council getting a first quarter update this week on the new Watch program.

The downtown safety initiative got underway May 1st.

Watch Manager Jeff Hansen says so far, things have gone very well, noting the program has made a big difference in a short period of time. “I think the most important thing is we’ve built relationships. Relationships with the community, business owners and their employees, as well as those people we meet day in and day out on the streets, the homeless and disadvantaged.”

Hansen says they’ve just added 19 new Watch volunteers, bringing the entire contingent to close to 40. Those new volunteers are undergoing training right now.

He told Council he feels The Watch has been very effective in just a very short period of time. “It’s serving Lethbridge well.” Hansen told Councillors of the of the Watch volunteers are putting in 4o to 50 hours a week.

Hansen says he thinks even some of the naysayers of the Watch initiative are starting to come around. “I think they’re seeing us as a good resource of the City and I think they’re understanding more of what the Watch is. We’re not law enforcement, we’re the eyes and ears for Lethbridge Police, Fire & EMS, and social service agencies.”

Lethbridge City Council approved funding for the Watch program last fall in an effort to boost safety in the downtown core.