Squeaky wheels get the grease when it comes to police response

The more that residents report safety concerns in Stittsville, the more resources police will allocate to the area.

That’s one of the messages from Wednesday night’s community crime and safety discussion hosted by Councillor Shad Qadri.

Only three Stittsville residents attended the discussion at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex that included the new community police officer, Constable Phong Le and Neighbourhood Watch volunteer Victor McNabney.

One resident brought up concerns about a series of incidents that happened along his street in the summer, including speeding, houses being egged, cars being keyed, gates being broken, and other occurrences. He wanted to know why the response time to one of his calls to the Ottawa Police was so slow when he had been calling incidents in throughout the week.

Constable Phong Le said that the Ottawa Police’s response time to a call has nothing to do with how many calls were made previously. They only assess the immediacy of the situation that is being called about.

Residents also wanted to know how police determine what resources go to an area like Stittsville.

“The more you report, any incident, the more resources will be allocated,” said Councillor Qadri.

He said that three years ago when there were suspected arson fires, police resources from other areas were brought into the Stittsville community.

“Whenever there is a complaint, there is assigned workflow,” said Constable Phong Le. “So officers will be assigned in that area to do enforcement.”

Constable Phong Le and Councillor Qadri stressed the importance of filling out a police report when incidents happen, rather than just sending an email to Councillor Qadri or posting about it on social media.

Constable Phong Le said that if people are coming to him about a problem, like speeding, but no one has filed any police reports, then it makes his job difficult to say there is a problem in the area if he cannot quantify it.

“If there are issues that come up in Stittsville that are identifiable, but we don’t have enough resources,” said Constable Phong Le, “that’s something they can look at, and say ‘you know what? Stittsville is a growing community and they need more police cars.’ But if you’re not reporting it, and Barrhaven is, then Barrhaven is going to get the car.”

A couple at the meeting was happy with the flex signs that had been installed during this past summer. They agreed that the speeding had significantly decreased on Liard. These signs were placed along the centerline of the road, reminding drivers that the speed was 40 mph.

Five streets this summer participated in this Temporary Traffic Calming program. Councillor Qadri said many residents along those streets noticed a decrease in traffic speed. The seasonal flex signs are removed for the winter, but Councillor Qadri said they would be back in the spring.

Victor McNabney is a volunteer with the community police centre. He helps facilitate the neighbourhood watches in Stittsville and has been involved with them for over nine years. He said there used to be eight neighbourhood watches in Stittsville, but now they are down to two.

“The process works if neighbours agree that they are going to start looking out for each other, that they’re tuned into and they’re not afraid to make the call,” said McNabney. “Make the call not to the councillor’s office, but get the call into the police network, where they start getting the statistics. It’s only then that we can start applying the solution. Neighbourhood Watch is supported by the police, but it takes you to drive it.”

The meeting wrapped up after an hour, and Councillor Qadri said a summary of the meeting would be made available later this week.



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