Providence, RIPTA to ramp up downtown law enforcement

CITY HALL AND RIPTA officials announced a plan to shift $100,000 slated for private security toward public safety enforcement in Kennedy Plaza / PBN PHOTO/

PROVIDENCE- The city and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority announced a plan to reallocate $100,000 initially slated for private security toward increasing police patrols and public safety in Kennedy Plaza and the surrounding Downtown Improvement District.

In a joint announcement Wednesday, Mayor Brett P. Smiley and RIPTA CEO Scott Avedisian pledged additional resources to increase the presence of Providence police officers and district “safety ambassadors” which they said will keep “Downtown safe and welcoming for all individuals.”

Safety ambassadors, clad in yellow and black uniforms, already patrol the 83-block downtown district daily and “work closely with the Providence Police Department and other members of the community to keep downtown safe and welcoming… providing extra eyes and ears on the street,” according to the district website

Ambassadors are a contracted service of Block by Block, a SMS Holdings Co. based in Louisville, Ky., and have been a presence in the city since 2005, according to its website.

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“With these additional investments, we are making our Downtown safer and a more welcoming place for the many residents, businesses, students, riders and visitors that pass through it each day,” said Smiley. “Together, we are creating a safer downtown and as a city, we will continue to expand our partnerships with community organizations to provide better enforcement and outreach here and in other neighborhoods.”

Avedisian in his statement called transportation and ridership safety a “priority” for the agency and that the allocation will “deter crime and hopefully grow rider confidence in our transit system.”

 Christopher Allen is a PBN staff writer. You may contact him at

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