Neighbourhood Watch is a partnership between a local community and the Ottawa Police to work for a secure and peaceful neighbourhood. It is also a program to help neighbours watch out for neighbours. It instructs you how to:
- Make your home less inviting as a target for thieves as part of the Home Security Program;
- How to participate in Operation Identification, an engraving program to mark your valuables; and
- How to recognize and report suspicious activity in your neighbourhood.
Each Block Captain is responsible for liaising with around ten neighbours. Each Watch is headed by a Coordinator who passes on information about any incidents or concerns to and from the Block Captains. The Coordinator also passes on messages and alerts rom the police to Block Captains, and vice versa. Neighbourhood Watch is a volunteer organization of neighbours. There is no charge to be a member.
In the Riverview Park community we have three active Watches. You may perhaps remember that at the 2010 RPCA AGM we marked the official launch of Riverview Park West. Under the leadership of John Neale and Frank Hare, and the fine work of the new Block Captains, the Watch extends through Blair, Dorion, Drake, Knox, Lennox Park and Lindsay streets. Rhéaume Laplante stepped forward during the year to reintroduce the Abbey Rd Neighbourhood Watch. This is great news and I am happy to report it and to thank Rhéaume for acting as Coordinator.
Thirdly there is the Riverview Park East Neighbourhood Watch, where I am the Coordinator. The Watch takes in part of Coronation Ave., as well as Chomley (part), Bloor, Crestwood, Penhill, Caverley, Weyburn, Braydon, Devon and Bathurst (part).
This report on activities over the past year is made on behalf of all three Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators.
Several alerts were distributed over the past year, either at the request of the police or initiated by the community.
March /April: a series of break and enters into parked, and mostly unlocked cars
June – a ‘grandparent emergency’ scam (asking for money for a sick or stranded grandchild)
August – an energy audit scam
October – warning about an incident of indecent public exposure
We hosted or participated in the following community events over the year:
- January: Conducting a practical home security audit with guest speaker Mr. Jordan Steele, Program
Coordinator, Home Security Inspections – Ottawa Police, and Mr. Jeff Bileski. The session attracted 25 people and was co- hosted with the RPCA. NW acknowledges with thanks financial support from the RPCA; and Rob MacRury, Pastor of the Church of Christ (and a Neighborhood watch Block Captain) for providing the meeting room. The speakers encouraged the audience to “think like a thief” as they reviewed the main vulnerabilities of a typical home
- June. The BBQ, Bake Sale and Fun Day was held in June at Riverview Alternative School. NW had a table to distribute iterature and to promote NW September. Councillor Peter Hume’s annual Corn Roast. This was another opportunity to promote NW.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who worked on the above events
Newspaper articles: – we were regular contributors to the Riverview Park Review, the local community newspaper. John Neale or Tim Mark submitted regular columns on issues affecting neighbourhood safety and security.
For your interest – the 2010 Crime Trends Report for the City of Ottawa and City Wards found that for Alta Vista Ward (including Riverview Park) the five top concerns in the Ward were:
– Speeding cars and aggressive driving
– Break and enter/burglary
– Identity theft
– Theft from vehicles
In Alta Vista: over the past three years, crimes ‘against the person’ are down 4.3%, crimes against property down 17.2% and other Criminal Code of Canada offences are down 14.4%. The general picture is that we live in comparatively safe and secure community. However that is no consolation if you are the victim of crime. The message is – be safe, be vigilant and put your safety on a proper footing by joining Neighbourhood Watch in your area; or learn how to set up your own Watch if there is not yet a Watch on your street.
If you would like information on what you should know and what you can do as an individual see Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Neighbourhood Toolkit at www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/toolkit.
I would like to thank all the Block Captains, my fellow Coordinators, and the RPCA for their support. I would also like to acknowledge with thanks the support of the Ottawa South Community Police Centre, and in particular, Const. Gary McCoy.
October 26, 2011.