Orléans residents join forces to combat violence on their streets
A community safety meeting at the Ray Friel Recreation Complex drew more than one hundred concerned residents Wednesday night.
Orléans residents organized the meeting after recent reports of swarmings in the area.
"If we constantly sat on our hind legs and didn’t bother to do anything then nothing ever gets fixed," said Greg Shore, a local dad who helped with the community meeting. "It's nice to see that people are concerned and they want to come out."
Shore took to Facebook earlier this month to warn other parents that his son was swarmed by a group of teenagers. The post was shared so wildly by neighbours with similar stories and experiences that a Facebook group called "Let's Make Orléans Safe Again" was launched. It now has more than 3,500 members.
"For me it is a lot more to do with community violence on any level," he said. "It doesn't specifically have to be about kids being swarmed. We are talking about violence towards kids, adults, thefts, vandalism or anything. Orléans is a great community and we want to keep it that way."
Ottawa Police told residents the data doesn't show a spike in crime but that doesn't mean it isn't happening. According to Inspector Ken Bryden too many incidents across the city go unreported.
"When we don't hear or don't see or don't feel those complaints, we don't know it's happening and that's how we drive our resources through intelligence, evidence based policing."
Improving the safety of their streets, police told the crowd, is about neighbours knowing neighbours and reporting anything suspicious to police.
"It's extremely important. It is the intelligence, it is that evidence that those people have that drive our resources," Bryden said. "When residents or community members provide that type of information to police and the officers know there is obviously something going on in the areas then we need to put time and energy into those areas."
In addition to the importance of calling 9-1-1, police running the community meeting also highlighted the importance of the Neighbourhood Watch Program and encouraged residents to start up new chapters.
"We want you to know your neighbours," said local Councillor Stephen Blais. "The more we can create neighbourhood watches, the more eyes we have on the street and the more we can deter this kind of thing from happening."