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Core support for this project has been received under the National Crime Prevention Strategy of the Government of Canada.

Ce projet est financé dans le cadre de la Stratégie nationale pour la prévention du crime du gouvernement du Canada




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Lower Town Security committee

(Comité de sécurité de la Basse-ville)

On September 7, 2006, Coordinator No Community Left Behind was invited to the Lower Town Security Committee meeting  for a presentation on the NCLB approach and progress. The committee  is comprised of staff from Lower Town Community Health Centre, Staff from Ottawa Community Housing, members from the community and some other agencies. The group is active and regularly meets.  

Presentation on the broader approach of the NCLB was delivered for about 30 minutes. It was followed by a discussion and question answers for one hour. It was an extremely productive session. Such occasions provide with an opportunity to reflect on the progress NCLB has made so far and to think about replicating it in other communities.

The crux of the discussion for those who are interested in following NCLB's approach is as follows:

  1. Don’t expect Ottawa Police Service to specifically assign police officers to a concerned geographic area and communities without doing some ground work and fulfilling some pre-requisites, such as:

-     Having a clear view of the concerned communities. This is possible thorough a thorough assessment of the reality and perceptions in the community about safety and security.

-     Putting an effective social mobilization process in place. This is the key. However, don’t expect the police officers to do that.

-     Preparing an inventory of available resources and partners to ensure continuity of the process for community-partners-police engagement.

-     Putting a plan in place for establishing consistent activities in the community with clear objectives to provide police officers an opportunity to drop in and informally chat with the community.

-     Keeping clear objectives in sight, such as: a) Opening communication channels with the OPS, b) Building trust between OPS and the community (the more the officers are trusted and kept informed, the more effective their law enforcement work will be) and c) Empowering the community. 

  1. Inviting police officers to the Security Committee meeting or a one-off community meeting will not serve the broader objective. Committee meetings are good for planning and big community meetings are good for information sharing.

  2. However, for trust building and opening communication channels, it is a must to have small but consistent and informal community meetings to build relationship with OPS.

  3. Ottawa Community Housing communities are fortunate in the sense that OCH has already assigned Tenants’ and Community Workers (TCWs) and provides funding and training for the Tenants’ Associations. The need is to use the available funding and staff resources (of OCH and concerned CHC) in organizing weekly or fortnightly meetings and activities where police officers could participate.

  4. The activities should be carefully selected with the objective of giving the participants an opportunity to have a dialogue and an opportunity to discuss issues in an informal way. If it is a physical fitness or movie night activity, the objective will fail.

  5. Don’t expect all partners to commit right away. Let them breathe and pitch in their expertise and resources gradually. The ultimate goal, however, should be to minimize duplication of activities with join assessment and planning by all partners.

  6. Mobilizing the community is the biggest of all challenges. It is not difficult to organize one security meeting and invite resource persons from the concerned agency. The challenge is to make people come out with consistency. For that the best way to assure the community that social and behavioral changes are long term processes. Change won't occur over-night. The weekly/fortnightly meeting should be planned in a way that there is an incentive for the community members to come out. The community needs to be re-assured that they will see a difference provided they give service providers (OPS in particular) a chance. Once the activity is in place and people start dropping in, consistency follows.


 © 2005-6 South-East Ottawa Centre for a Healthy Community
Centre du sud-est d’Ottawa pour une communauté en santé

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