Volume 12 Week 5

Saturday, Jan. 19


Posted Jan. 10

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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney




(Updated 6:30 p.m., March 15)
Police chief asks for public's help in combating violent crime

By Fred Sherwin
rléans Online

Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau is asking Ottawa residents to help the police service combat violent crime. File photo

In light of the recent homicides on Jasmine Crescent and other Ottawa neighbourhoods, Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau has written an open letter to the residents of Ottawa asking for their cooperation and support in preventing what he describes as “senseless and preventable acts”.

“The solution to addressing and preventing this violence must include police, community groups, individual community members and the friends and loved ones of those involved,” says Bordeleau.

“That is why I am calling upon our community partners to work with us to find longer-term solutions to the escalation we are seeing."

The police chief’s letter was released to the media just days after Nooredin Hassan, 20, was gunned down on Jasmine Crescent, becoming the city’s fifth homicide of 2016. It was also the second shooting in the east end neighbourhood in the last three months and third homicide in less than a year, sparking outrage from are residents and the local city councillor.

On Saturday, Beacon Hill, Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney lead a march along the street.

The purpose of the march, which was attended by about 40 people, was to send a message to the residents of Jasmine Crescent that they are not alone. They also wanted to send the message that the best way to fight crime is through community engagement.

It’s the same message that Chief Bordeleau is voicing through his open letter.

Among the groups he sees as being part of the solution are Crime Prevention Ottawa, the Coalition of Community and Health Resource Centres, the Youth Services Bureau, the John Howard Society and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization.

But the best way to reduce crime is through individual engagement, says Bordeleau.

“Any solution must also involve those who know that their friends, sons, brothers or loved ones are armed and involved in crime. We need to hear from them so that we can keep everyone safe,” says the police chief who points to a successful program in Halifax for inspiration.

Ceasefire Halifax takes a community approach to eliminating violence, and in particular gun violence, by directly targeting individuals who run a high risk of becoming, or are currently involved in violent activity, through the use of “violence interuptors” who are from the communities in which they work.

Ceasefire also uses a team of outreach workers that is focused on longer-term solutions to help guide high risks individuals away from a life of crime.

In the four areas of Halifax where Ceasefire does most of its work, shootings have dropped from 11 in 2010 to just four last year.

Bordeleau does not indicate in his open letter whether he would like to launch a similar program in Ottawa, only that the community should draw inspiration from its success.

As for the Ottawa Police Service’s response to the most recent homicide on Jasmine Crescent, Borde-leau says the OPS will continue to invest time and resources in crime prevention.

“Proactive work by police has doubled, community and school resource officers have increased their activity and engagement with residents...

“We also introduced Crime Stoppers to the residents and conducted safety audits. We continue with stepped up patrols and are meeting with residents to talk about how to galvanize and strengthen the community."

Bordeleau also points to the success they’ve had in reducing violent crime in areas like Banff-Ledbury and Vanier as proof that community engagement, a willingness on the part of residents for change, and a strengthened relationship of trust with the police can work.

“This is a safe city because our community and police work to-gether,” Bordeleau concludes in his letter, “but we are challenged by these recent incidents of violence. Through community action, it is a challenge that we will meet together."

The full text of Chief Bordelleau’s letter can be found here.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)


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