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Burlington business community to provide stab resistant vests for Howard Center Workers


By Adrian Pastor

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    BURLINGTON, Vermont (WPTZ) — With the increase in crime and threats of violence happening in Burlington, the Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team said they’re in need of some help.

$5,000 dollars was raised for the Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team by the Burlington Business Association.

The funds will provide all six members of the street outreach team with fitted stab-resistant vests.

The donation comes as more crime and threats of violence have affected shoppers, businesses and workers in the downtown Burlington area.

“We were happy to support them with this donation and give them the tools to be safer at doing their job,” said Colin Hilliard with the Burlington Business Association.

The outreach team provides a range of social service needs for people in downtown Burlington business district.

John George-Wheeler, co-owner of Skirack helped to raise the money to buy the vests.

He said the donation is a small step in addressing the ongoing public safety concerns.

“We are susceptible to what is going on in the community as a whole, and it’s really our job as community members — my job as a business owner — to put staff as number one. We’ve got to prioritize their safety and shortly thereafter, the community and our customers,” said George-Wheeler.

Hilliard said the recent increase in crime and other incidents in the area is prompting the organization to look at bringing back additional safety measures to downtown.

“We are looking to bring back the public safety ambassadors we’ve had in the past for the fall. We hoped to get them for the summer, but with staffing… like with everything, [it] has been a challenge,” said Hillard.

The stab-resistant vests are currently on order and and will be available in the coming weeks.

The Burlington Business Association said while the vests are a small investment in maintaining public safety in the Queen City, more needs to done, and they will be looking into safety alternatives as the fall season approaches.

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