Burlington to start new safety escort program

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 11:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 5:26 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Do you feel unsafe walking in downtown Burlington at night?

The Burlington Business Association and other groups are creating a Safety Escort Program. It will provide on-call safety escorts in the general downtown area from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Officials say the program will be staffed by a reputable, community-focused security service and local volunteers.

The escorts will walk people to their cars, buildings, hotels or workplaces. The service will have a special focus on supporting retail and nightlife employees.

The effort comes as the Burlington Police continues to address budget cuts which they say have left them short-staffed during critical overnight hours.

“The level of uncertainty and fear my membership has expressed to me over the past year has reached a level higher than I’ve seen in my 10+ years serving as the director of the BBA. Above all else, they are afraid for their staff, especially women employees. After hearing from a number of my members, we have decided to support this idea while continuing to work to find a sustainable model for public safety in Burlington,” the Association’s Kelly Devine said in a statement.

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