Congratulations to Aileen Morales

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Aileen Morales, Office Manager at the new Ambassador Academy Center in downtown Los Angeles, was recently recognized by the Honorable Jose Huizar, District 14 Los Angeles City Councilman.  The award was a Certificate of Appreciation.  Pictured with Aileen is Senior Lead Officer (SLO) Sean Lewis of the Los Angeles Police Department.  Congratulations to Aileen on being recognized for her outstanding performance.

Retail workers on State Street happy as armed guards begin patrol

Mitch Dudek

@mitchdudek | email

Two armed guards began patrolling State Street downtown Thursday and retail employees along the thoroughfare were thrilled.

“There’s a lot of young people who come in and snatch and grab and run and people with mental problems who come in and go off on people and make a scene,” said the manager of an electronics store who didn’t want to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Some retailers along the busy business district said such instances are often a weekly, if not daily, occurrence.

“Their presence will probably dissuade people just with the intention of stealing from coming downtown to State Street,” said the manager of a clothing store who also didn’t want to be named.

Armed private security guards hitting State Street

POSTED: MAR 01 2018 04:16PM CST

VIDEO POSTED: MAR 01 2018 04:21PM CST

UPDATED: MAR 01 2018 06:27PM CST

CHICAGO (AP) - Armed security guards are starting to patrol a popular shopping area in downtown Chicago.

The two uniformed guards will be dispatched to State Street south of the Chicago River for several hours during the day and again in the late afternoon and evening in a visible effort to prevent retail theft and other crimes.

An organization of local businesses and groups called the Chicago Loop Alliance hired a security company to patrol an area of Chicago where police are often busy racing from call to call and may not be able to respond as quickly as local businesses would like.

Armed Security Guards to Patrol State Street on Weekends

Armed security guards will begin patrolling one of the most popular shopping areas in downtown Chicago. 

The guards, which will be provided by HLSA Security according to a press release from the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), will patrol State Street between Wacker Drive and Congress Parkway beginning on Thursday morning.

The guards will be in uniform, be armed, have badges, and will be able to make arrests according to the CLA.

According to the press release, the guards will patrol Thursdays between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Read More

Salt Lake City Bumble Bees

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If you venture downtown this spring, you might see folks in yellow shirts walking in pairs, like two purposeful bumblebees sans the black stripes. The shirts have a logo and the words "Ask Me!" These are your new Downtown Ambassadors, paid for by the Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City and Visit Salt Lake. Years ago, members of the Chamber of Commerce would go out monthly in white coats, welcome people to town and invite them to meetings. These guys were not paid, whereas the new ambassadors are getting a wage. This program is a little different.

According to the Downtown Alliance website, these ambassadors have three goals: 1. Answer questions from visitors and find out where they are from; 2. Be vigilant in busier parts of downtown; 3. "Act as the eyes and ears for the homeless population," and inform them about how to take advantage of local services.

Mind you, they're not cops, but in a way are acting like cops. They'll watch out for crime and particularly watch the homeless in specific locations downtown. They don't have guns or tasers, just phones to call 911 or service providers.

The need for extra sets of eyeballs on the street is due mostly to a cry from local businesses finding that the Salt Lake City police are too damned busy busting drug dealers around the shelter and aren't available to roust panhandlers from in front of Temple Square or City Creek 20 times a day. These yellow ambassadors will interface with the homeless and panhandlers and get to know them. They won't be afraid to sit down next to them and talk about why they are there, and offer them services to hopefully get them help.

The program is based on a similar one that the Chicago Loop Alliance created for its downtown area. They contracted with private entity Streetsplus to walk their downtown areas and get cozy with the people who work, visit and live there. Streetplus has been working in New York City for more than 25 years, too, and provides cleaning, safety and hospitality services to 60 downtown areas around the United States. By this summer, you might see up to a dozen Streetplus pairs in the core blocks of downtown, around our convention center and tourist sites. They get rave reviews for their work, so let's give them a chance in our capital city for a year and measure the results.

Salt Lake City launches new downtown ambassador program

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(KUTV)- Thanks to the Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City, and Visit Salt Lake, the first "Downtown Street Ambassador Program" launched Thursday.

The Ambassador Program has three purposes:

Answer questions about where to go, what to see and what to do for newcomers to downtown, whether they are traveling from other parts of Utah, nationally or internationally.

Provide an additional level of safety and security in busier parts of downtown. Our ambassadors are able to communicate with dispatch (just like any other citizen) in case of an emergency.

Act as the eyes and ears for our homeless population, to ensure these community members are aware of service providers, and how and where to take advantage of hot meals or a bed, should they choose. Ambassadors are not security officers or police officers: they carry no weapons and are there purely and simply to help.

"The Ambassador Program aims to create an even more welcoming and safe city center for residents and visitors, as well as providing additional outreach efforts for people experiencing homelessness,” Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said. “This ambassador program is yet another service the City is excited to provide, along with our partners at the Downtown Alliance and Visit Salt Lake.”

The initial phase of the program started in early Nov., and since the beginning of Feb., the Ambassadors have attracted quite the attention downtown patrolling in their bright yellow uniforms. Staring in April, up to a dozen Ambassadors will be seen in areas throughout the summer and fall. Ambassadors will patrol the streets between 7:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m., daily and during the winter months from 9 to 5:30 p.m.

“Our ambassadors are already making a big difference, helping visitors and locals find their ways and feel even more welcome in downtown,” Downtown Alliance executive director Jason Mathis said. “They are also working with panhandlers or homeless people who may need to access services. Downtown belongs to everyone and this program is just one more way we are working to help everyone feel welcome in our urban center.”

According to a press release, "the Salt Lake Program was modeled after the Chicago Loop Alliance, including contracting services with StreetsPlus, a national company who specializes in providing ambassador services in several major cities." Representatives from both organizations joined Salt Lake City’s leaders for Thursday's launch.

Salt Lake City welcomes new ambassadors to serve downtown areas

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SALT LAKE CITY — If you meet someone wearing a bright yellow shirt downtown, chances are he or she is a new ambassador for Salt Lake City.

They're stationed downtown to help make the city a more welcoming place for visitors and to address concerns raised by local business owners regarding homelessness and other issues facing the area.

The city will eventually deploy up to a dozen ambassadors in major pedestrian thoroughfares throughout the year, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said Thursday in announcing the pilot program. She said similar efforts have been successful in other large metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Read More..

‘Downtown Ambassador’ program unveiled in SLC to help with hospitality, public safety

SALT LAKE CITY – Whether you live, work, or visit downtown Salt Lake City, there is a team of friendly faces hitting the streets to point you in the right direction.

They’re called Downtown Ambassadors.

Downtown Alliance, Salt Lake City, and Visit Salt Lake launched the program Thursday.

“We've seen this in a lot of other cities where you have ambassadors to act as concierge for convention delegates, tourists—even just people who happen to be downtown looking for directions,” said Jason Mathis, executive director of Downtown Alliance.

Four ambassadors will patrol hotspots such as the Salt Lake City library, Rio Grande District, and City Creek Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. By spring, they’ll have a total of 12 ambassadors on the ground.

“This is another approach to bringing to the streets a level of service for those who live here and those who visit here and those who are experiencing homelessness,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.

With extra eyes and ears on the street, they can connect the homeless and panhandlers with services.

“The difference is we're not enforcement. We're trying to approach it from a real compassion standpoint,” said Seth Cole, an ambassador team manager.

“These people are all highly trained," Mathis said. "They have degrees in social work. They're gonna be able to create that intervention on a street level."

From hospitality to public safety, Cole says ambassadors are ready to serve.

“If you see an Ambassador, come talk to us," Cole said. "If you need a helping hand, just let us know, that's what we're here for.”

Leaders are hoping the program really takes off so they can expand it to other neighborhoods.

Giving Thanks to Our Clean Team

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At the core of our organization's work is district beautification, and we rely on the Union Square Clean Team, contracted through StreetPlus, to keep our neighborhood looking its best 365 days a year. With over 344,000 people walking through our neighborhood each day, our team is constantly on the move to keep Union Square a wonderful place to visit, work and live.

Our Trash Talk is Actually About Trash

Each day you'll see our team in their signature green polos sweeping trash off the streets, or emptying one of our USP-purchased dynasty cans, as well as our Big Belly solar-power compactors. Through these efforts they removed more than 178,000 bags of trash from the street each year. If you're in the neighborhood prior to their start at 7 AM, you can see firsthand the impact they have on your clean morning commute. Read More

In wake of fatal attack outside nightclub, is downtown Riverside safe?

 The line to get into Aurea Vista Bar & Night Club goes around the building Saturday night, Aug. 19.

The line to get into Aurea Vista Bar & Night Club goes around the building Saturday night, Aug. 19.

With two late-night fights that resulted in gunfire and the fatal beating of a Good Samaritan in downtown Riverside this month, those thinking of going downtown for an evening of entertainment may wonder if it’s safe.

Riverside officials say visitors have nothing to fear. They point to new private security patrols, recent unscheduled inspections at downtown bars and regular dialogue between the city, police and bar and nightclub proprietors.

People will always raise concerns or badmouth the area, but “I believe that our downtown is safe,” said Councilman Mike Gardner, who represents the area. “That is not to say we don’t have issues that need addressing.” Read More

The Sidewalks of Hollywood. A blog by Kerry Morrison, Executive Director of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance

Last weekend, one of my board members sent me a link to a list: “The Biggest Tourist Traps on Earth.” He was apologetic, but as I read it, I sighed. The Walk of Fame is listed there with the Blarney Stone, Graceland, the Taj Mahal and 23 other locations. Hollywood’s description suggests a neighborhood that has been forgotten by the city of Los Angeles and our tourism officials. It’s hard to not acknowledge the truth in their claims.

If you go to Los Angeles on vacation, don’t go to the Walk of Fame unless you like walking past . . .  abandoned buildings while . . .  fending off buskers, the homeless and people trying to sell you their mix-tape. Read more...

Jeff Lee Selected as Ambassador of the Year

   
  
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  From left to right:  Terrence McIntosh, Martha Lee, Jeffrey Lee, Win Davis, Steve Hillard

From left to right:  Terrence McIntosh, Martha Lee,
Jeffrey Lee, Win Davis, Steve Hillard

Town Green Special Services District (TGSSD) celebrates the selection of Jeffrey Lee as the 2016 Ambassador of the Year.  The celebration was part of the TGSSD annual meeting held on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.  Jeff is a supervisor with Streetplus Company, LLC (Streetplus) and is responsible for ensuring the daily mission of the clean, safe and friendly program is accomplished to exceed the expectations of the downtown stakeholders and those that live, work, and visit the district.

Jeff has been assigned to the TGSSD for over six years and during the past year he displayed a consistent level of commitment, professionalism and work ethic unmatched in the industry.  He brings a sense of calm while leading a group of ambassadors as they strive to keep the district clean, safe and friendly. 

During 2016, Terrence McIntosh, Streetplus Program Manager, significantly increased the level of expectations for the ambassadors and Jeff was instrumental in delivering the message and ensuring the high standards were exceeded.

Jeff also provides a historical perspective since he’s worked at the account for six years.  This knowledge has assisted Terrence in bringing forth new ideas that improved operations.  One of those ideas was the modification of the trash pick-up route. 

Congratulations to Jeff and thank you for your commitment and hard work!

Downtown Alliance to fund 'street team' to help relieve homeless issues

 By  Katie McKellar  |  Posted Apr 7th, 2017 @ 10:06pm

By  Katie McKellar  |  Posted Apr 7th, 2017 @ 10:06pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Determined to help reduce issues associated with Salt Lake City's overwhelmed homeless shelter, downtown business leaders are stepping in.

Their plan: a paid "street team" with backgrounds in social work roaming the streets of downtown Salt Lake City — some on bikes, others on Segways — doing everything from scrubbing graffiti to asking the nearby panhandler, "How can I help?" Read More

Arts District bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly projects around LA will get millions from the state

Nearly $15 million awarded to make the neighborhood safer for walkers and bicyclists

Last week, the California Transportation Commission awarded more than $100 million to 62 active transportation projects around the state, including $14.85 million for a host of bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly improvements in the Arts District. 

The grant money, which will be delivered between 2019 and 2021, represents a sizable chunk of the $56 million awarded to Southern California cities and agencies to deliver projects focused on making the state safer for walkers and bicyclists. Read More...

See how our Chicago Loop Alliance “Street Team” is making a difference on State Street

  (Above) A homeless Chicagoan outside a fast food restaurant on State Street talks with two members of a Chicago Loop Alliance “Street Team.” 

(Above) A homeless Chicagoan outside a fast food restaurant on State Street talks with two members of a Chicago Loop Alliance “Street Team.” 

By Steven Dahlman

25-Jun-16 – During their three-and-a-half mile journey up and down State Street, 44-year-old Edmund Garcia and 27-year-old Terrence Shelton pass thousands of people – workers at the retail stores for which State Street is famous, shoppers, and tourists. But it is a handful of Chicagoans in which they are most interested, people whose only home is a doorway or a chair outside a restaurant or any spare spot on the sidewalk. Click here to read more

Chicago Loop Alliance Works Hard and Plays Hard

The Chicago Loop Alliance’s next ACTIVATE celebration promises to bring art, music, refreshments, and, according to its online invitation, more than 4,000 guests to the alley that intersets the State St. Target store on June 9th.

By all accounts, it will be another successful installment in a meticulously curated series that has become known for generating good times in underutilized public spaces for the past three years. But the soirees represent just a small part of the CLA’s much grander mission: to create a Renaissance in downtown Chicago.

“The ACTIVATE stuff wouldn’t work if people didn’t feel safe,” says CLA Executive Director Michael Edwards. “If a downtown is cleaner and safer, people will come back.” Read More...

Chicago Loop Alliance Street Team Recertified

Streetplus understands the importance of equipping ambassadors with the right tools to be successful on the streets and training is the most effective way to get those resources to them.  All ambassadors employed by Streetplus are required to be certified in Basic First Aid, CPR, AED, and Bloodborne Pathogens.

Our Street Team Ambassadors assigned to the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) recently went through recertification.  Street Team Ambassadors are responsible for building professional relationships with those in need (homeless persons and panhandlers) within the boundaries of the CLA.  They refer those in need to shelter, clothing, food, medical services, and counselling, just to name a few.  During 2015, the Street Team was successful in getting 57 individuals that were homeless on State Street off the streets into transitional housing, employment and treatment facilities. 

Historic Core BID and Streetplus Sponsor Gathering to Discuss Mental Illness

Blair Besten, Executive Director of the Historic Core Business Improvement District (HCBID), located in downtown Los Angeles, certainly understands the impact of mental illness in individuals on the streets and how it affects the environment in her District.  Streetplus safety hospitality ambassadors have witnessed an increase in the number of individuals displaying symptoms of mental illness on the streets.   There are so many aspects to this increasing issue and the HCBID decided to take action.  The first step was to educate the various private security personnel assigned to protect property in the HCBID.

On April 28, 2016, The HCBID and Streetplus co-sponsored a gathering of private security personnel for the purpose of beginning a dialog on the issue of mental illness.  Under Ms. Besten’s leadership, representatives from the Los Angeles Police Department, City of Los Angeles Mental Health Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department Mental Evaluation Unit presented approaches on how private security personnel can safely deal with individuals who may have mental illness issues or are unstable.  Those attending the meeting left with a better understanding of the issue and how to approach those who may have a mental illness or are unstable.

The HCBID and Streetplus will continue to get the word out and take an active role in providing resources to those that are directly affected by this issue.  A big thank you to the LAPD and the LAPD MEU and the City of Los Angeles Mental Health Department for seeing the value in this gathering and for supporting our efforts.  

Blair Besten, Executive Director of the Historic Core Business Improvement District (HCBID), located in downtown Los Angeles, certainly understands the impact of mental illness in individuals on the streets and how it affects the environment in her District.  Streetplus safety hospitality ambassadors have witnessed an increase in the number of individuals displaying symptoms of mental illness on the streets.   There are so many aspects to this increasing issue and the HCBID decided to take action.  The first step was to educate the various private security personnel assigned to protect property in the HCBID.

On April 28, 2016, The HCBID and Streetplus co-sponsored a gathering of private security personnel for the purpose of beginning a dialog on the issue of mental illness.  Under Ms. Besten’s leadership, representatives from the Los Angeles Police Department, City of Los Angeles Mental Health Department, and the Los Angeles Police Department Mental Evaluation Unit presented approaches on how private security personnel on how to deal with individuals who may have mental illness issues or are unstable.  Those attending the meeting left with a better understanding of the issue and how to approach those who may have a mental illness or are unstable.

The HCBID and Streetplus will continue to get the word out and take an active role in providing resources to those that are directly affected by this issue.  A big thank you to the LAPD and the LAPD MEU and the City of Los Angeles Mental Health Department for seeing the value in this gathering and for supporting our efforts.