We received a lot of comments this week on our editorial Residents, not just police, have a role to play in community safety, written in response to a very low turn-out — just three people — at a meeting on community safety hosted by Councillor Qadri in November. Here are a couple letters with very interesting and thoughtful perspectives on the issue.
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH IS WORTH IT
I am one of the two Neighbourhood Watch Coordinators here in Stittsville. I decided to start up my Neighbourhood Watch in May 2012. I wanted to focus my Watch around Coyote Park to make sure my children had a safe environment to grow up in.
Mine is a big Watch. I have 190 members on my Watch, involving 4 streets (used to be 5, but couldn’t get involvement from the 5th street, so I had to drop it). I walked door to door and canvassed the neighbourhood by myself for the most part. I found that some people were very hesitant to join and get involved, and I had to go back a few times to convince them that it was a good idea. I also found that it was very difficult to encourage people to be involved as Block Captains.
I go to Neighbourhood Watch meetings every four months at the Ottawa Police. I send out e-mails to my Neighbourhood Watch members about situations in our neighbourhood as they arise, and answer questions from members about concerns they have in our Neighbourhood.
My belief is that it takes a village to raise a child, and I want to make that a possibility. Right now I’m working to get the drugs out of our park. People need to be more involved. Start a Neighbourhood Watch in your Neighbourhood. You don’t have to go crazy like I did and make it such a large one, but get involved. I’d like to see more of Stittsville represented in our quarterly meetings.
(If you’d like to talk to Monique about setting up a neighbourhood watch, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can put you in touch.)
THE LITTLE THINGS MAKE A DIFFERENCE
I appreciate coming across this article. As a Stittsville resident for close to three years, had it not been for a Google search on Stittsville, I would have never come across the website StittsvilleCentral.ca that highlights some great things for those who live within the Community.
I don’t have a concern with crime and don’t feel it’s above the norm than any other place in the city (having moved from central to south to west in nine years). I must commend our councillor with whom I have had some personal outreach historically as it relates to the Deer Run Park. I received response within 48 hours of my concern raised to include an action plan with remedies to address issues for un finished landscaping. Bravo on a leader who is action oriented! We are lucky to have him remain with us.
My home is located in Deer Run right beside a common park. I am pleased to say that the city does a good job at the upkeep. There has been the odd Saturday morning when I take my dogs to the park and notice broken glass from beer bottles – a safe haven where children play. Having a home so close by it is within instinct that I clean the glass and move on without being vocal about it. I salt the common path from the park leading to our street. I also put up lighting for those to navigate their way through a dark park in the absence of city lighting.
I have seen a father with his young son pick up garbage in the park to teach the young child good values to be endorced early on in life. These actions are positive; they are human nature; and may not necessarily captured anywhere in social media, but they are still occuring. We never vocalize these actions seeking credit for them. We do it because it makes sense to protect others, ourselves and our overall community.
Perhaps the lack of participation at the community meetings that are held are an indication that residents are not overly concerned. In addition, from someone who is married to a communications specialist, we may benefit from a more robust communications strategy to bring awareness to those affected and the options available to them to participate in such discussions. We also have to appreciate that a number of us work in the downtown area with an extensive commute which increases our travel time during the day. For example – do our meeting times facilitate time travel from downtown and with kid picks ups later in the day? Food for thought.
In summary, Stittsville residents care and demonstrate actions to solidify this notion although it may not be widely communicated. The community may benefit from a communications strategy that further highlights how they can get involved. You will see me personally at a future event whether it be the meetings or Food Bank.