Sault-based N1 Solutions Inc. will start downtown security patrols this weekend after landing a contract with the City of Sault Ste. Marie.
N1 Solutions will take over the mobile late-night patrols from KC Security Services, which has been watching the core area for about 22 months, except for a three-month hiatus in 2020.
The city has retained N1 for a six-month pilot project, with extension options up to one year.
"We've had a couple of meetings about how the patrols are going to work," executive director Salvatore Marchese told a Wednesday-night meeting of the Downtown Association.
"As part of the bid process, N1 included an offer to have an additional seven hours of security in the evenings, on the weekends, or if there's a special event, they're flexible to covering that event," said Tom Vair, the city's deputy chief administrative officer for community development and enterprise services.
"We're treating this as a learning exercise and seeing what the best way is to help provide security and safety in the downtown," Vair said.
"On really quick notice, we have the ability to adapt our service model," said Sonny Spina, N1's managing director of security.
"I recognize that we may start this patrol in certain areas that we've identified as hot spots. Things may move as we progress on through this project."
Spina is expected to brief a future meeting of the Downtown Association on other technologies available through sister divisions to N1, including RFID (radio frequency identification) tags that can be placed downtown to ensure patrols are visiting spots considered important.
KC Security's most recent monthly report, based on three patrols a night, produced no incident reports.
Marchese reported having a conversation with local homelessness prevention staff about the new shelter at the Verdi Hall.
"They have seen the new shelter being utilized near capacity," Marchese said.
"They would like to wait until there is more data before drawing any conclusions that there may be a relation to the shelter with a reduction in security incidents, but they will come back to the Downtown Association for a meeting in late spring," he said.
The Downtown Association's annual general meeting is scheduled for Thursday at Soo Blaster.
It will be the association's first in-person annual meeting since 2019.