WHY HE’S TOP 40: He lives, works and volunteers in the Parkdale community, actively making the community safer and stronger.
KEY TO SUCCESS: “I believe that when I’m doing a job that I want, that I enjoy, that I’m satisfied with, then my work will help other people as well.”
In 2003, Chris Hayduk was a police officer in Edmonton’s derelict housing unit when discrepancies between the numbers on land title documents and lot values got his attention. In some cases, the lot’s value was twice that of the land title. People were buying old, inexpensive houses and inflating their values with false information to obtain big loans, and then renting the crumbling buildings for gross profits.
He was about to unravel one of the biggest mortgage-fraud cases in Canadian history, totalling $30 million from 118 Edmonton properties and six Camrose condos. Five people were convicted of crimes.
Problems with homes affected by mortgage fraud extend beyond economics, says Hayduk. It often results in buildings left in disrepair, drug houses and atmospheres where people are afraid to walk — day or night. So, rather than wait to spot another suspicious case, Hayduk says, “I try to engage community members to make changes in their own community.”
In 2006, he moved his wife and two children to Parkdale, the same neighbourhood where he works as a police officer. He was promoted to Community Sergeant in 2010 and, soon after, started “Cops at the Carrot,” where police officers make themselves available once a week to talk with Alberta Avenue area residents at the neighbourhood cafe.
The transition made him feel ownership in his community, he says. He started a non-profit organization called Community Response to Urban Disorder, or CRUD. “When I’m involved in the community, I can speak [my neighbours’] language. I really understand what’s going on from their perspective,” says Hayduk.
Through CRUD, people participate in activities like dog walking and enjoying large dinners together. It gets big crowds out in the neighbourhood, eliminating fear and lessening incidences of crime, he says.
Hayduk shares his knowledge with the rest of the city by sitting as a committee member on the Mayor’s Task Force on Creating Sustainable Mature Neighbourhoods, as well as the Coalition of Crime, a joint partnership between the City and the Edmonton Police Service.
He says, “I can go to work and see all ‘negative,’ all day. Then, with CRUD, I can see what good people are doing to make it better.”