Montreal police to fight gun violence by building ties with communities, city says

The City of Montreal and its police force have developed a new strategy to fight gun crime in Rivières-des-Prairies and communities hardest hit by the recent violence.

It means in part, that police officers will be more visible in the chosen neighbourhoods.

"There are going to be about 20 officers who will be going door-to-door, to talk to people, perhaps ask for any leads, and bring down the stress they may have," said Commander Salvatore Serrao, an SPVM spokesperson.

A mobile command post will make the rounds in RDP throughout the summer to help curb gun violence in the streets.

"It’s a different type of clientele, it’s impetuous, it’s impervious. We have to determine what kind of police intervention it will be," Serrao said.

A recent report shows just how bad the problem of gun crime was in Montreal last year.

The Montreal Police Annual Report for 2021, shows there were 144 shootings across the city last year, or an average of one shooting every 2.5 days.

In 2020, there were 71 shootings recorded.

Officials emphasized they plan to take a holistic approach to policing and will work with community groups to achieve their goals.

"Everybody has to work together, the police, the community organizations. The different health organizations," said city councillor, Alain Vaillancourt.

Serrao agreed that cooperation was paramount to help build relationships between all parties.

"We need the citizens’ help. So they need to know they can trust us," said Serrao.

Recalling a shooting near her office on Perras Boulevard, the director of the umbrella community group, Community Development Corporation of RDP, said it’s always a good idea for police to reassure people in the area following any violence.

However, Karine Tremblay points out that many residents of RDP may be members of marginalized communities and may not be as forthcoming with police as they would hope they would be.

It appears, however, that worries about safety in the area are growing.

There was a protest on Saturday, where people expressed their anger and concerns over recent shootings.

Vaillancourt said similar projects are being launched in other parts of the city — 77 in total — with 57 due to begin this summer.

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