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Working to build a safer city. Partnering to make it happen.

At Crime Prevention Ottawa, we know there is strength in numbers. We work closely with government, police, school boards, businesses, community services, child protection, the United Way and local residents to reduce crime and build safer communities. Our vision? To create a city where individuals, families and neighbourhoods feel safe and are safe.


Our work is based on collaborative, evidence-based approaches to crime prevention. We bring together the latest research and professional experience to prevent crime. Our priorities? • to reduce violence against women • to reduce crime in high risk neighbourhoods • to focus on youth in high risk environments We do so by building partnerships, supporting local initiatives and promoting policy solutions. We foster community action. We know that together, we can make a difference.


Join us in building a safer Ottawa. Whether you’re one person or part of a community organization, you can support efforts close to home. How? Get involved: Take part in efforts to combat violence against women, prevent youth gangs and empower young people. Implement safety initiatives in your own home or neighbourhood. Use the Neighbourhood Toolkit: This practical guide offers tips and advice on dealing with issues such as drugs, identity theft, domestic violence and street racing. Access it on our website and learn how to start a Neighbourhood Watch program, organize a community clean-up, and much more. Sign up for our newsletter: Find out about the latest crime prevention initiatives, events and other community safety news. Register on our website to receive our newsletter by email.

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Jacques Beauchamp Former Regional Police Office


GRAPHICS & ART www.DESIGNit.CA PRINTED IN ONTARIO, CANADA Dollco, a division of The Lowe-Martin Group


Kelly Ledingham

Nancy Worsfold

Mike Justinich

Eva Schacherl

Sarah Barker

Frank Diaz ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Don Holt Thomas Easton Daniel Cole

Crimesense is published by Vantage Publishing Group Corp. and distributed free, all rights reserved. Contents and photographs may not be reprinted without written permission. The statements, opinions and points of view expressed in articles published in this magazine are those of the authors and publication shall not be deemed to mean they are necessarily those of Vantage Publishing Group Corp. or other affiliated organizations. The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, transparencies or other materials. Publications Mail Agreement No. 41927547 ISSN 1927-3142 Crimesense Magazine (Print) ISSN 1927-3150 Crimesense Magazine (Online) Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: 40 Colonnade Road Nor th Ottawa, Ontario K2E 7J6 Telephone: 1-888-724-9907

- est 1990 -

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hile overall crime rates are decreasing across the country, the alarming reality is that youth and youth-related crime remains on the rise, especially in Canada’s remote communities. It is for this reason that the RCMP Foundation is committed to making a difference in the lives of young people across the country. By providing funding to community groups and programs across Canada, the RCMP Foundation assists RCMP members as they dedicate countless hours above and beyond their policing duties to give back to the communities in which they work. Many of these communities are faced with socioeconomic problems such as unemployment, poverty, family breakdown, and a lack of available recreational and support services. As a result, the youth in these communities often deal with significant issues such as bullying, gang violence and substance abuse.


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From sports and recreation, to drug awareness and internet safety, the RCMP Foundation funds programs with a focus on helping Canadian youth at risk make positive life choices and steer clear of negative challenges confronting them on a daily basis. In 2011, the RCMP Foundation granted over $767,000 in funding to community projects across Canada. Included in these projects were the Kraft and RCMP Foundation Breakfast Clubs of Canada Program, contributing to over 67,000 meals a month for youth at risk across the country; The RCMP Foundation and Walmart Canada Child ID Kit Program, providing child identification kits free of charge to Canadian families; and the Aboriginal Policing Professional Development Fund, providing specialized training to Canadian aboriginal policing professionals.

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Of the RCMP Foundation’s total contributions in 2011, over $14,000 helped to fund programs right here in Ontario. The following are examples of projects in Ontario that were driven by RCMP members’ efforts to support and encourage youth who are struggling to find a positive and productive place in society.


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Gil Read Memorial Fastball Tournament Kanata, Ontario

It is common knowledge that in addition to improved physical health, organized sports can help play a key role in youth development, including higher academic achievement, improved self-esteem and fewer behavioral problems. Sadly, many children do not have the opportunity to participate in organized sports, simply because their family is unable to afford it. The Gil Read Memorial Fastball Tournament helps raise funds to give back to youth who are unable afford to compete in organized sports. The tournament is about the members of the community all working together for a common goal. The assistance of numerous RCMP employees along with a $1,500 contribution from the RCMP Foundation helped make this event a successful one.

Kids N Kops Program - Ottawa, Ontario

The Kids ‘N’ Kops program is an initiative of RCMP “A” Division and an integral part of the RCMP strategic priorities on the youth. The program started in 2000 and is designed as an annual summer day camp for kids. The purpose of Kids ‘N’ Kops is to give 24 Big Brothers Big Sisters kids the chance to interact with police officers in a friendly, fun, interactive learning environment. The main goal is to foster improved relationships between kids and law enforcement. In addition, the Kids ‘N’ Kops program improves children’s knowledge of ways to stay safe at home and in their community.

Racing Against Drugs - Garden River, Ontario, Fort William, Ontario, London, Ontario

The RCMP Racing Against Drugs (RAD) program began in London, ON in 1994 and has since taken place in communities across the province. The program teaches youth to make healthy lifestyle choices using a Race Track with several pit stops staged around a chosen venue. These “stops” range from topics on fire and rail road safety, effects of alcohol, cyber bullying, guns and gangs, and drug awareness. In 2011, the RCMP Foundation funded three RAD events in Ontario in 2011: $3,000 was granted to Garden River, $4000 to Fort William, and $4000 to London.

Kidsfest Running and Reading Clubs – Etobicoke, ON

The Kidsfest Running and Reading club is an after school program that effectively addresses the need for enhanced literacy and physical activity among economically challenged children. The program operates directly within inner city, rural and remote schools and runs for two hours per week throughout the school year. The program takes children on an adventure that improves their physical, mental, emotional and social health. Each week with the help of adult mentors and junior coaches’ children build strength and endurance through running and fitness activities. They are introduced to a character building word of the day to develop interpersonal, social and resiliency skills followed by individual/group reading and journaling. The RCMP Foundation

Anishinabek Nation Aboriginal Improv Workshop

Thanks to RCMP Foundation funding support, the Aboriginal Improv Workshop was held in the Anishinabek Nation in 2011. Improv is the practice of acting, dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, or talking without memorized lines. It improves one’s ability to think on his/ her own feet, and is proven to increase self-confidence and self-esteem. Corporal Roger King and Corporal Cheryle Hayden of the RCMP Aboriginal Policing Services unit took the lead role in organizing, planning and delivering the workshop, helping local community members to improve their skill sets and enhance teamwork, while fostering community spirit and unity. CS RCMP Foundation funds are generated through donations, corporate and private partnerships and by the licensing program of official RCMP products sold at The Mountie Shop ( To learn more about the RCMP Foundation and how you can help make a difference in the lives of youth at risk across Canada visit:

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Nadia Blasutti, a case manager with the Youth Services Bureau, was meeting with a new client for the first time. The young woman, who was homeless and struggling with mental health issues, was reluctant to talk. So instead, Blasutti accompanied her to a drop-in program and they sat down in an activity room and made earrings together.

“You have to build up gradually to a place where change is possible, where they believe they can do it and are worthy of something better.” For Blasutti and her fellow case managers in the Youth in Transition program at YSB, it is crucial to start working with youth where they feel comfortable. “Once they feel comfortable, then you can support them to try new things,” she says. Those new things could include applying for housing, getting a psychological assessment, applying for a health card, or tackling a big issue like addictions treatment. The Youth in Transition program accepts youth from 16 to 24 years of age— an age group that sometimes falls between youth and adult social services. Clients of the Youth in Transition or You-IT program are among the most difficult-to-serve youth, facing a combination of homelessness, mental health problems and addiction. Often they’ve experienced traumas starting in childhood, and their trust has been broken many times. “Their coping strategies over the years may have become unhealthy behaviors,” says Blasutti. “You have to build up gradually to a place where change is possible, where they believe they can do it and are worthy of something better.” By matching each young person with an intensive case manager who will work with them several times a week, the You-IT program offers stability. The young person can set goals with someone they trust, who will continue to work with them for several years and wherever they may be living in the city. The program has a capacity of 40 to 50 clients. “The staff who work with these youth have a lot of empathy and energy—they’re really committed,” says


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Ruth Dulmage, coordinator of YSB’s health services. “Their approach is client centred and youth friendly, and that’s quite unique.” Youth face many challenges that can lead to homelessness, addictions and psychological distress. Family poverty is a major factor. YSB’s Drop-in services have about 900 unique clients every year, and over 1,000 youth in Ottawa use emergency shelters annually – a number that doesn’t even count those who are sleeping on the street or the ‘hidden homeless’ who are couch-surfing at friends’ homes. The You-IT team has specialized knowledge in working with queer, trans and Aboriginal youth, groups who face specific barriers and discrimination in addition to poverty and trauma.

YSB’s approach is strength based, which means building a plan and setting goals based on a young person’s strengths rather than their deficits. The You-IT program was launched this spring with funding from the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association. CMHA Ottawa coordinates similar services through three other agencies based in Lanark, Pembroke and Cornwall. YSB has a long history of working with youth who are homeless and unstably housed, at risk because of addictions and poverty, and struggling with mental health issues. The new program brings together all these elements to address them holistically. YSB is an accredited mental health agency with a range of mental health services, from a walkin clinic to a 24/7 Crisis Line. Its flagship Drop-in centre at 147 Besserer Street is a safe haven for youth who have no safe place to live. Its staff connect youth 16 and up with shelter and housing, including the YSB’s own young men’s and young women’s emergency shelters and housing program. Its support groups for youth with mental health and addiction issues are also very popular. “The little things – like knowing how to make a dentist’s appointment – matter a lot,” says Blasutti, musing about the lives of her clients. “Having someone to guide you and teach you can help you stay on track and believe in yourself.” CS For more information about YSB and You-IT, visit To find out how you can support this work, please contact the YSB Foundation at 613-729-0577 x1262.

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Preventing crime on community time

Crime prevention is not just a job for the police – it must involve the entire community […] agencies, groups, businesses and individuals are now collaborating to develop programs to make our municipalities safer. Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Primer on Municipal Crime Prevention

Community-based crime prevention brings together a wide range of local stakeholders to focus their energies and resources on developing initiatives designed to increase community safety while building a sense of connection and belonging among residents. In 2007, Crime Prevention Ottawa provided funding and support to establish three comprehensive, community-based crime prevention initiatives: • Lowertown, Our Home, managed by the Lowertown Community Resource Centre


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• Together for Vanier, coordinated by the Vanier Community Service Centre • United Neighbours, led by the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre Four years later, CPO engaged community consultants Ken Hoffman and Melanie Bania to review the initiatives and provide staff involved in those projects help in planning and evaluating their work, with the goal of sharing best practices across communities. This booklet summarizes the report’s findings and celebrates the impressive progress made in Lowertown, Pinecrest-Queensway and Vanier.

Why community-based crime prevention works Community, or locally-based crime prevention … programmes work to increase the sense of safety and security of the residents … to respond to community concerns and crime problems affecting the population and to increase the services and social capital or social cohesion in the community. United Nations Handbook on the Crime Prevention Guidelines: Making them Work

Research shows that community-based approaches to crime prevention can have a much greater impact on criminal behaviour than enforcement alone. The wide variety of stakeholders involved results in a vast range of responses to criminal behaviour, community safety and cohesion issues. By taking joint action that brings in expertise and insights from all corners of the community, there is much greater potential for long-term, sustainable solutions. After all, the broad-based support and mobilization of resources from across the community means that everyone has a stake in achieving results and feels pride in the efforts they undertake. This broad base of support makes the initiatives much more likely to be sustained over the longer term.

> CASE STUDY: MOVIES IN THE PARK The community of Vanier boasts a blend of recent immigrants, Francophone, Anglophone and Aboriginal residents. Poverty is high. Richelieu Park, in the heart of Vanier, experienced significant problems with sex trade workers and drug dealers, which made the environment feel unsafe for others. In an effort to take back their park, members of Together for Vanier planned a series of fun and free events starting in 2009. Dubbed “Movies in the Park,” the evenings feature activities for children, a barbecue, movies and a chance to mingle with neighbours. The events draw 200-300 people and serve to bring this diverse community together. Just as importantly, they have given residents a sense of ownership over the park. Sex trade and drug activity has dropped, making way for families and dog walkers to enjoy what is rightfully theirs.

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Ottawa communities take action… and win

Lowertown, Our Home believes that an integrated, collaborative approach to crime prevention works best. A community that can harness the energy of its residents and then partner effectively with city agencies, the police, social services and service providers can create a sense of momentum and hope which is contagious and sustaining. Nicole Rhéaume, Community Development Manager (East), Ottawa Community Housing Corporation

After several years of community-building and crime prevention, the communities of Lowertown, Pinecrest-Queensway and Vanier have been transformed through the focused efforts of local residents and their community partners—people who cared enough to make a difference and to work together to achieve positive change. From social agencies to police, local businesses and community leaders, their combined efforts stand as a testament to the passion for crime prevention and safety that exists in each community. Whether through Lowertown, Our Home, Together for Vanier or United Neighbours, those involved developed approaches designed to fit with the local context, culture and issues, making optimal use of local resources and volunteer energy. The goal? To create the conditions needed to achieve increased feelings of safety among local residents and decreased incidents of crime. The three communities identified the following conditions needed to achieve change:

Theory of Change


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• Safe and welcoming physical and social environment • Actively engaged residents • Actively engaged and responsive partners

This model, known as the Theory of Change, represents how the communities understand the process of change. It helps them to plan, focus and evaluate the impact of their work.

The diversity of the community-based crime prevention initiatives can be seen in the table below

(note: UN=United Neighbours, LOH=Lowertown, Our Home, T4V=Together for Vanier):

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Building community spirit, making communities safer

People living in Vanier have a strong desire to do something to make this a safe neighbourhood to live in and raise families. We are moving towards this goal each day and I think it’s safer today than it was even 6 months ago. That’s a good feeling. Vanier resident

The good news is that crime is going down in Lowertown, Pinecrest-Queensway and Vanier at a rate faster than the rest of Ottawa. While it is difficult to draw a direct link between crime rates and community-based crime prevention initiatives, research tells us that that community-based crime prevention can contribute to reducing crime rates. In fact, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities says that crime statistics are one strong indicator of just how well these types of initiatives are working. In Ottawa, the numbers tell the story. From 2006 to 2011, reported incidents of crimes against person and crimes against property

have decreased at a greater rate in each of these communities than the city average, which is down by 15% overall. Lowertown is down 20% Pinecrest is down 27% Vanier is down 20% Source: Ottawa Police Service

The results are impressive and speak to the valuable work that each of these communities has undertaken to take back its streets and instill a sense of pride and belonging in residents.

> CASE STUDY: COMMUNITY SAFETY COFFEE HOUSES For years, residents of Pinecrest-Queensway felt their community slipping away. Their sense of safety was taken over by robberies, drugs and youth gangs. A blended community with longtime residents and new immigrants, people were reluctant to talk about their safety concerns with neighbours, let alone report problems to the authorities. In 2007, United Neighbours was formed to tackle crime and increase feelings of safety and connectedness. The group established Community Safety Coffee Houses to provide an opportunity for residents to come together to talk about crime and safety issues. Each coffee house features a community partner, such as the police, community housing, health or social services. Residents talk about issues—and they feel heard. They receive useful information and they have a chance to speak directly to service providers. Today, residents are increasingly reporting suspected criminal activity. Their coffee house talks have led to other initiatives, such as spring clean-ups, a community garden and a new playground and basketball court. That’s success!

300 McGill Street Peterborough, Ontario Canada K9J 1W5

Phone: 705 743-3911

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> CASE STUDY: YOUTH LEADERSHIP PROJECT Lowertown is largely a community of immigrants, with 40% of residents living below the poverty line. Lowertown’s youth face some real challenges. As visible minorities, many feel unfairly targeted by security and law enforcement. They say there are few opportunities for teens to engage in positive activities outside school. Some are drawn into youth gangs. Lowertown, Our Home established the Youth Leadership Project to address these issues. Youth identified as ‘potential leaders’ participate in a range of activities, including arts, recreation, skillsbuilding and weekend retreats. They have an opportunity to work sideby-side with the Ottawa Police Service and Ottawa Community Housing Safety Service officers as their mentors. The result? Youth gain important knowledge, group and relationshipbuilding skills. They learn about educational and career options. They develop personal relationships with police and security officers that allow them to see past the badge and respect one another. Most importantly, many go on to become leaders, opening doors to a future full of promise.

What have we learned?

We plan to continue to work in partnership with community members to help bring safety to our communities. We will partner, build relationships and contribute. We will also participate more in community events, clean ups and anything else to make a difference and work hard to be positive role models in our community. Pinecrest-Queensway residents and participated in a United Neighbours retreat

The Ottawa communities of Lowertown, Pinecrest-Queensway and Vanier have set the bar for community-based crime prevention efforts. Today, they continue to develop and deliver crime prevention initiatives that respond to local needs and address local issues. Together and on their own, they are solid case studies in community-based crime prevention best practices. CS To find out more about community-based crime prevention efforts in Lowertown, Pinecrest-Queensway and Vanier, refer to the full Hoffman-Bania report, Learning from Community-Based Crime Prevention Initiatives: The experiences of three Ottawa communities, on the Crime Prevention Ottawa website at

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GENEROUS DONATION EMPOWERS CANADA’S GIRLS The Nancy Baron Mentorship for Girls Program established at the Canadian Women’s Foundation thanks to a four-year grant from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.


he Canadian Women’s Foundation, Canada’s foundation dedicated to empowering women and girls, is thrilled to announce a generous donation over the next four years from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. This gift will allow the Canadian Women’s Foundation to establish a fund for programs that mentor girls. Canada’s girls have made significant progress in achieving equality, but compared to boys, they continue to struggle with serious body image issues, low selfesteem, and a chronic lack of confidence. In order to build the foundation for girls to lead well-adjusted, productive and caring lives, we need to work with young girls to instill protective factors, including confidence, social connectedness and critical thinking skills. With these firmly in place, girls can thrive. The Nancy Baron Mentorship for Girls Program will break new ground for girls aged 9-13. Over 4 years, 1,400+ girls will be mentored for two-years and the learnings from this groundbreaking work will impact and improve services offered to 10,000+ girls across the country. 25


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“This extraordinary gift from Nancy Baron will enable us to develop a platform for girl-supporting programs across the country to create intentional, effective, and sustainable mentoring initiatives to increase the positive impacts,” said Dr. Claire Crooks, Board member of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “Building mentoring within our Girls’ Fund projects is particularly exciting because it will take place in the context of a comprehensive, skills-based approach which is superior to just mentoring alone. And it will be done with a gender-informed lens throughout the process. Additionally, our programs give priority to the most disadvantaged girls. “ “I am delighted to be able to support the Canadian Women’s Foundation through the establishment of this mentorship program for girls”, says Nancy Baron, Director of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. “It is vitally important that girls have every opportunity to succeed and this innovative group mentorship approach is something I am very proud to be part of.”


The Canadian Women’s Foundation is Canada’s public foundation for women and girls. We invest in the power of women and the dreams of girls. We are a community of individual women and corporate donors empowering women and girls in Canada to move out of poverty, out of violence, and into confidence. We take a positive approach to address root causes of inequality, and study and share best ways to create long-term change. We believe that helping women creates safer families and communities, and a more prosperous society for all of us. Since 1991, we have invested in over 1,100 community programs across Canada, and are one of the ten largest women’s foundations in the world. CS For more information: Canadian Women’s Foundation www.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is committed to matching this donation by generating an additional $1M annually by the end of the four-year gift, to ensure the Nancy Baron Mentorship for Girls Program can continue.


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arly next year, Ottawa police officers will start recording the race of every driver they pull over. This comes as part of a settlement between the Ottawa Police Services Board and

the Ontario Human Rights Commission following a claim against the Board that in 2005, an Ottawa police officer pulled over then18-year-old Chad Aiken simply because he was Black. Aiken, who was driving his mother’s Mercedes Benz at the time, also alleged that he was taunted and assaulted by the officer.

DO WE AS POLICE OFFICERS HAVE BIASES? ABSOLUTELY, WE GET THEM FROM OUR LIFE EXPERIENCES, FAMILY, FRIENDS – ALL OF THESE THINGS HAVE SHAPED OUR BIASES. AND, IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT YOUR ETHNIC BACKGROUND IS. WE ALL HAVE THEM. Though the details were not made public, part of the claim was settled in 2010. This final piece, where officers will identify and record the race of every driver they stop, was reached by mediation earlier this year. The settlement states that the Ottawa Police Service will collect the data for a period of two years, and provides a number of project development requirements and timelines before its planned implementation date of April 27, 2013.


“In the public interest, we advocated for race-based data collection and we’re very pleased the Ottawa Police Services Board agreed to do so,” says Pascale Demers, a communications officer with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. “In our view, this helps the police with transparency and maintaining trust in the community. We feel the data collection is important to addressing concerns and perceptions in minority communities (about how they’re policed.)” Demers says that at the end of the two year project (which may be extended), the Ottawa Police Service will hand over the data to the Commission, who will analyze it and then make any required recommendations.

Details of how the data will be collected – i.e. the number of race categories and method of recording – still need to be figured out. Flanagan is working with the Ontario POLICE OFFICERS HAVE A HEIGHTENED Human Rights Commission and will be hiring a mutually-agreed RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT ANY DECISION upon data collection expert to MADE IN THE COURSE OF THEIR DUTY REMAINS help develop the processes for how the data will be collected, FREE OF ALL BIAS, RACIALLY OR OTHERWISE. retained and delivered.

Although the project has several objectives, they all basically boil down to answer one question: are visible minorities being targeted by Ottawa cops? Ottawa Police Insp. Pat Flanagan heads the project – aptly named the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project – and is working hand-in-hand with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and other internal and external community representatives. Flanagan believes there will always be the debate over the reality of racial profiling in law enforcement, but that regardless of whether its existence is real or perceived by the community, it’s an activity that undermines public trust. But as he says, the issue needs a solid shot of reality. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a cop or not, we all have biases. “Do we as police officers have biases? Absolutely,” states Flanagan. “We get them from our life experiences, family, friends – all of these things have shaped our biases. And, it doesn’t matter what your ethnic background is. We all have them.” The difference, says Flanagan, is that police officers have a heightened responsibility to ensure that any decision made in the course of their duty remains free of all bias, racially or otherwise. As he says, police officers always have to be held accountable for the decisions they make.


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While the project is still being developed, here’s what we know so far about how it will work. At every traffic stop (where a police officer pulls over a vehicle), the officer will, based on their own observation, record their impression of the driver’s race – this as opposed to the driver self-identifying their race. This will form the basis of the data collection.

Certainly, public consultation and feedback is also an extremely important part to the development process. Flanagan reports that he is consulting with several external community groups. A Town Hall session is tentatively expected to be held in November to provide an opportunity for the public to hear about the project, while also giving people the opportunity to raise their concerns. Some people have asked why the scope of the data collection is being limited to traffic stops. After all, if visible minorities are more likely to be targeted, it’s to be expected that it would extend to all interactions involving the police, and not just to those committing traffic-related offences.

One simple answer is because it’s what the mediated settlement specifically calls for – that the data be gathered for traffic stops only. Consider also that Ottawa police officers stop over 50,000 vehicles every year, a number Flanagan says is more than sufficient for an initial study.

AN OTTAWA POLICE CONSTABLE’S OPINION... “I feel it will negatively impact police morale. I

Beyond that, Flanagan says to remember the initial complaint was as a result of a traffic stop, and it’s an area where he believes most issues arise.

dont feel that by officers collecting data of race

When asked what his expectations are for the project, Flanagan says that the best part will be the discussions that take place once the results are released.

stopping minority groups in fear that there

“There’s no point in conducting a study and mothballing it,” he says. “People on both sides of the racial profiling debate agree the data collection and analysis is an important part to determining whether or not a problem actually exists. I would expect serious dialogue to immediately follow the release of the results – dialogue that could result in change or impact how we do business in the future.”

2003-2004 with their race data collection and their

While people on both sides of the racial profiling debate may support the idea of a race-based data collection study, it can be equally expected that there will also be dissenters and those who will question whether such a study is required or even relevant. And how about Ottawa’s front-line cops? What do they think?

on all traffic stops will help accomplish much. It could possibly prevent some officers from could be disciplinary or performance evaluation repercussions. Kingston police were unsuccessful in Association have been quoted has saying that the race data collection project was one of the most negative experiences in policing ever encountered by Kingston police officers. Police officers are covered under the Highway Traffic Act to stop any motor vehicle to make sure that the driver has a valid driver’s licence or to check on the sobriety. I am personally against this project and feel that the majority of officers are too as well as I havent heard anyone tell me that they like the idea of race data collection.”

Flanagan says since a proper awareness campaign hasn’t been done with the officers, he can’t categorically say one way or the other with any certainty whether most officers welcome the project or not. “However, that being said,” says Flanagan, “I don’t think anyone is jumping up and down awaiting its arrival.”


Matt Skof is president of the Ottawa Police Association and served as a patrol sergeant before being elected to his current position. He reports that officers have approached him with several concerns, including that the data will be used against them or that they work in an area with a high visible minority population that, at first glance, may make it look like the officer is targeting people of colour. Because he was present at the Tribunal, Skof was able to ensure that safeguards to protect the officers were included in the settlement – specifically, that the data wouldn’t be used punitively against them or have any bearing on their performance appraisals.

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Still, while Skof acknowledges that the Traffic Stop Race Based Data Collection Project is mandated to move forward, he still has serious reservations about it. “What I call this project is unnecessary,” says Skof. “It’s a step backwards. The relationships we have in our communities are fantastic and I really think this is going to be a divisive exercise.”

area at that time of day?) the project will just become a selfdestructive exercise. Skof also questions the usefulness of the data, no matter what it shows at the end of the study.

“Often, the literature comes from an agenda and says AT THE END OF THE DAY, ETHNICITY IS something like ‘Look, I just Skof also sees it as a selfproved this,’” explains Skof. IRRELEVANT. THE POLICE HAVE A MANDATE defeating project. As he says, “And then someone else turns TO ENGAGE PEOPLE DISPLAYING ANTI-SOCIAL if it’s shown that Ottawa police around and writes a totally officers don’t disproportionately different story saying ‘Well BEHAVIOUR, REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE. stop visible minorities outside actually, it’s the complete of the Caucasian population, opposite if you take such-andthen people will say the officers didn’t fully participate in such into account.’ There’s no context to the data and that’s the study. On the flip side, if the data shows a higher number a problem.” of visible minorities were stopped, then without any sort of context to the data (i.e. we stopped this many vehicles, in this Skof has spent a lot time explaining that race is just a fact, area, and this is why) or any sort of benchmarking questions no different than a person’s age, sex, height and weight, and (i.e. In what area? At what time? Is it a normal number for the not a factor in determining whether someone is stopped by the police. The factors that cause an officer to engage someone are things like time of day, neighbourhood, and the behaviours being exhibited by the person. Those behaviours, says Skof, can be as simple as looking over your shoulder or as obvious as passing a package of what is believed to be drugs. At the end of the day, ethnicity is irrelevant. The police have a mandate to engage people displaying antisocial behaviour, regardless of their race. Understandably, as president of the police association, Skof is fiercely protective of his officers. He challenges anyone to look at the Ottawa Police Service and find an issue brought to their attention that wasn’t or isn’t being addressed. “I have a huge problem with people saying our officers racially profile,” says Skof. “I’ve had enough with that racial profiling term. That term is just synonymous with saying we’re racist. We’re not.”


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In his retirement, former Ottawa police deputy chief Larry Hill remains active in the community and works as a volunteer with a number of organizations. He sits on the Board for the Catholic Centre for Immigrants; is chair for the board of the Britannia Woods Community House, which services a large immigrant community; sits on the Family Services Ottawa Board; and also participates with Languages of Life.

Black youth, at that moment, there is still no problem. If he drives on, the line hasn’t been crossed. Perhaps he decides to stop and talk to the youth. Now he’s edging closer to the line, since they’re not disorderly or committing any offences. Approaching the youth, he talks to them in a friendly manner, introduces himself and asks how they are doing. Still, the line hasn’t been crossed. If he demands to see their I.D. the line has been crossed and according to Hill this is where an officer’s inexperience can really show. If an officer crosses the line, intentionally or otherwise, they have to disengage and deescalate the situation. And often, that can be as simple as apologizing and talking through what just happened. “Officers with little street experience don’t feel they can do that because it makes them look weak,” explains Hill. “But they have to understand they look 100 times stronger when they do that.”

Without question, Hill believes the Ottawa Police Service is a leader in several race relation areas: fostering relationships with its diverse communities, implementing recruiting initiatives to increase the service’s diversity quotient, and applying new ways of doing business, such as having the community co-lead a police project. Still, even he admits that police officers racially profile. In fact, he did it himself.

Hill says he wasn’t a fan of race-related data collection until then-Kingston police chief Bill Closs initiated his own data collection project in 2003. A first of its kind, Closs initiated the year-long study to deal with a lack of community confidence in his service after a number of publicized encounters between his officers and black youth.

Hill relays a generic example of him being stopped at a set of traffic lights at the corner of Bank St. and Gilmour St. back in the 80s. There were several youth standing around and he found himself focussing his attention on the Black men while he more or less ignored their Caucasian counterparts. Reflecting later, he asked himself why this was, especially if statistically speaking the Caucasians were more likely to be the offenders.

“Closs told me what was worth its weight in gold was it really cemented and furthered the relationship with his diverse community,” says Hill.

Hill says that while the Kingston study didn’t provide any unexpected results, it was a still an extremely valuable project.

“We all do it,” says Hill. “It’s our human survival mechanism kicking in and it’s very hard to stop that kind of auto-response.” As Hill says, an individual of any race will do things based on their life experience – and that experience comes from any number of areas: upbringing, family, friends, movies, and work experience, whatever. The trick, he says, is to always be aware of why you are responding the way you are, and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. An officer’s level of street experience can be a factor as well says Hill. He continues his story to illustrate a few escalating potential scenarios. As Hill says, while he’s focussing on the

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Formed in 1999, the Community and Police Action Committee (COMPAC) is a community-police advisory group representing a unique partnership between police, and visible minority and Aboriginal communities in Ottawa. The committee provides communities a voice within the police service, while also giving the police insight into the challenges and concerns from diverse parts of the community. Lynda Kitchikeesic is a community member and vice-chair of COMPAC and is very happy that the data collection project is moving forward. She’s heard from both camps – people who insist racial profiling doesn’t occur to those who insist every time they’re pulled over it’s because they’re a visible minority. “When you’re dealing with people who are that far apart, you need to find some middle ground,” says Kitchikeesic. “I think what the survey will do is at least give people a starting point for discussion because right now it’s all rhetoric and speculation, and it’s not helping anyone.” Kitchikeesic says that she’s seen nothing but absolutely commitment from everyone to making this project work, and that includes both Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau and Ottawa Police Association president Matt Skof. “Chief Bordeleau is being open and transparent, is addressing our concerns, and is doing so while still being extremely supportive of his officers,” she says. “If things need to change, he’s determined to make it happen.” She continues, “I know the officers are feeling like they’re being dragged to the table on this one. And Matt Skof has popped himself right in the middle of the debate so that we can all work together and make the most of this incredible opportunity.” Everyone will be watching closely to see how this project unfolds, and that includes other police services, especially those with large visible minority communities. And at the end of the day, Kitchikeesic believes this is a good thing. “I can’t see this as anything but a win-win, no matter what the results show,” she says. “This is a huge issue that is finally being discussed and addressed.” CS

AT A GLANCE Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project ABOUT THE PROJECT

Starting April 27, 2013, Ottawa police officer’s will record the race of every driver they pull over. The Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project is expected to last two years, at which point the data will be handed over to the Ontario Human Rights Commission for analysis and follow-up recommendations.


The Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project forms part of a settlement between the Ottawa Police Services Board and the Ontario Human Rights Commission. This comes following a 2005 claim against the Board that an Ottawa police officer pulled over then-18-year-old Chad Aiken simply because he was Black. Aiken’s was driving his mother’s Mercedes Benz at the time.


The project implementation team is being led by Ottawa Police Service Insp. Pat Flanagan. He can be reached at 613-236-1222 x3211.


The Ottawa Police Service is working closely with the Ontario Human Rights Commission and several external community groups to establish the project requirements. A data collection expert is being hired to provide advice on how to best conduct, analyze, and evaluate the race data collection.


A community forum and information session is expected to be held in November. Visit the Ottawa Police Service’s project website at: racialprofiling.aspx for the latest information contact Insp. Pat Flanagan at 613-236-1222 x3211.

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Šcopyright | Photomorphic


ow well do you know your neighbours? It’s an important question because communities where neighbours talk to neighbours are among the safest in Ottawa. Getting to know your neighbours helps build community spirit—and once you have that, you have residents who take pride in their neighbourhood and truly care about the place they call home. That, in turn, creates a greater sense of well-being in the community. Residents feel safe and are safe because their efforts to build a better community tell criminals that they are not welcome in the area.


There are many ways in which your community can come together to create safer environments for everyone who lives there. Here are 5 examples from Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Neighbourhood Toolkit:

ORGANIZE A SPECIAL EVENT: An event can be a great way to get your neighbourhood together and build community spirit—from organizing a picnic to a family day, street fair, talent show, block party or movie night. To do so, you’ll need volunteers who can plan every aspect of the event, including the budget, publicity, sponsorship, food and permits.

BUILD A COMMUNITY GARDEN: A community garden is a place where people come together to grow flowers, herbs, fruits or vegetables. Often, community gardens make use of neglected or underused spaces in neighbourhoods, providing beauty and sometimes food for the people who tend them. It’s a great way to bring people together, educate them about the environment and create a stronger sense of community belonging and pride.


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ADOPT A PARK, ROADWAY OR GATEWAY: This city-wide program encourages volunteers to take on park, roadway or gateway clean-up projects to improve safety, the environment and to keep the city clean, green, and free of litter and graffiti. Residents, schools, community groups and businesses have adopted 120 parks and 60 roadways in the city. Why not join them?

ENCOURAGE LOCAL LEADERSHIP: Do you believe in the value of local leaders? Consider this: without the people who actively work to make your neighbourhood a better place, volunteer their time, recruit others to put initiatives in place, organize activities or raise awareness about important issues, very little would get done. So get involved and encourage others to do the same!

KNOW WHEN AND HOW TO REPORT: Part of being a great neighbour involves keeping an eye on your neighbourhood and reporting suspicious or criminal activity. For by-law violations such as noise or property issues, call 3-1-1 to report. For life-threatening emergencies or a crime in progress, call 9-1-1. To report a theft, property damage, missing person or stolen vehicle, dial the Ottawa Police Service call centre at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300 (TTY 613-760-8100). Remember, this is not about tattling on your neighbours. It’s about keeping your community safe. To find out more about implementing these great ideas and making your community a better place for all residents, visit the Neighbourhood Toolkit at

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n the west-end community of Pinecrest-Queensway, residents are making their neighbourhood safer—one cup of coffee at a time. It’s their way of creating a sense of security in the community, after years of dealing with

robberies, drugs and youth gangs. A blended community with longtime residents and new immigrants, people were reluctant to talk about their safety concerns with neighbours, let alone report problems to the authorities. 41

a community garden and a new playground and basketball court. This example is just one of countless community-based crime prevention initiatives taking place in three communities across Ottawa, including Pinecrest-Queensway, Vanier and Lowertown. Funding and support provided by Crime Prevention Ottawa has helped all three communities achieve impressive results over five years.

That’s why the group established Community Safety Coffee Houses to provide an opportunity for residents to come together to talk about crime and safety issues. Each coffee house features a community partner, such as the police, community housing, health or social services. Residents talk about issues—and they feel heard. They receive useful information and they have a chance to speak directly to service providers. Today, residents are increasingly reporting suspected criminal activity. Their coffee house talks have led to other initiatives, such as spring clean-ups,


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“Research shows that community-based approaches to crime prevention can have a much greater impact on criminal behaviour than enforcement alone,” says Crime Prevention Ottawa board chair, Stittsville Councillor Shad Qadri. In Vanier, where poverty is high, residents have joined forces with Together for Vanier to take back their streets and Richelieu Park from sex trade workers and drug dealers. They planned a series of fun and free events, including Movies in the Park—evenings featuring activities for children, a barbecue, movies and a chance to mingle with neighbours. They’re also doing community cleanups, safety walkabouts and creating murals to chase away graffiti.

Similar initiatives in Lowertown are making a difference too, where 40% live below the poverty line and many visible minorities feel unfairly targeted. Lowertown, Our Home has spearheaded a range of activities, including a Youth Leadership Project, to support positive growth and change in the community. “Lowertown, Our Home believes that an integrated, collaborative approach to crime prevention works best,” says Nicole Rhéaume, the Community Development Manager (East) for Ottawa Community Housing Corporation. “A community that can harness the energy of its residents and then partner effectively with city agencies, the police, social services and service providers can create a sense of momentum and hope which is contagious and sustaining.”

To find out more about community-based crime prevention successes in Ottawa communities, visit the Crime Prevention Ottawa website at

As for the success of these efforts, the numbers tell the story. From 2006 to 2011, crime in Lowertown and Vanier fell by 20% and saw a 27% drop in Pinecrest-Queensway. CS

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very day in America, 28 people die as a result of drunk driving.1 Every day families are burden with the news that their loved

ones were taken by someone not responsible enough to put keys down or in the hands of someone who can get them to safety. These families have to swallow that fact that someone irresponsibly drank too much, disregarded both their and others safety. But who’s to blame? Does the intoxicated driver take the blame? How much have our communities done to educate their citizens of the dangers of alcohol, their effects on our ability to operate motor vehicles, and how everyone’s body handles it differently. Has drinking and driving become an acceptable thing to do in our society? Community perceptions have evolved throughout the years. What is deemed acceptable today may have not been deemed acceptable 10-20 years ago. With the introduction of technology, the internet and social media, our communities have become a hub for opinions, judgments and the fight for both local and global causes. An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest.2 This statistic points to the perception that drinking and driving is ok as long as you don’t get caught.


sympathize with something unless it’s personal. After 9/11 we gathered together as unified communities, families, businesses, and citizens against terrorism. Prior to that day, if Americans were asked if terrorism was an issue in their community or country most would have said no. So what will it take for our communities to realize that drinking and driving is a real problem. Once they have seen that it’s a problem, what can be done to control it?

To determine our community’s perceptions and norms, we surveyed community members from health organizations, law enforcement, youth organizations, local government, and citizens. Questions included perceptions about retail availability, accessibility and law enforcement. Responses varied the greatest by age. Respondents representing the 18-24 year old age group responded more liberally whereas adults over 24 responded more conservatively. Many of the 18-24 year old age group felt it was ok to have a few drinks and drive home. Many of the under 21 year old respondents shared that they felt it was easy to get alcohol, and that most places don’t really check their ID’s. When asked how many drinks it would take to be considered over the limit, most of the respondents said they simply did not know. When asked the consequences of drinking and driving most of the respondents again answered they did not know. Many of the survey’s respondents stated they did not think that drinking and driving was an issue in their community, yet all statistics point to it not only being a problem but a growing epidemic. Survey respondents reported a decrease in youth drinking and driving for a short period of time after a reported youth/ young adult alcohol related crash, but once the emotions die down they go back to drinking and driving. People will not


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S.W.A.G. (Steer without Alcohol & Guilt) is one of many programs that are geared towards preventing alcohol related accidents. This is accomplished by seeing the two positive sides of guilt. In a new study published in Psychological Science, Amodio & Harmon-Jones (2007) argue the pros and cons of guilt. Guilt, they argue, acts both to punish the self and to help us heal the damage we’ve done.3 Our program wants those who are considering drinking and driving to think about the guilt they will cause families if a life is taken and the guilt they will bear themselves. There is weak evidence to support perception change with presentations aimed to motivate crowds via guilt or graphic pictures. There is enough strong evidence that supports that when these presentations are reinforced with other measures such as accountability checks, increased ABC enforcement, increased DUI checkpoints and at home education, perceptions and norms do change. S.W.A.G. searches for ways to make our local community safer.


The first step to all problem solving is to admit the problem exists. Next the issue must be addressed. Once the issues are in the public eye, others will join the fight to make the community safer. During this process always repeat your goal for the community and its citizens. “I want my community to practice S.W.A.G, I want them to Steer Without Alcohol & Guilt.” CS

• Education (Knowing how much is too much, parents are educating their children on do’s and don’ts of alcohol, understanding that drinks vary in alcohol volume and are absorbed differently per person);

1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2011. 2 (Centers for Disease Control. “Vital Signs: Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults-United States, 2010. “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. October 4, 2011. )

• Prevention (Teaming up with local government to see what programs or grants are available for citizens to be a part of);

3 Amodio, D.M., & Harmon-Jones, E. (2007). A Dynamic Model of Guilt: Implications for Motivation and Self-Regulation in the Context of Prejudice. Psychological Science, 18(6), 524-530

• Community Forums or Focus groups (A tool that can be used to gauge where the community stands on the acceptability of drunk drivers).

These are just a few ways to start the fight against drinking and driving in our communities.

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behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as proactive and reactive interventions in situations – resulting in the ultimate reduction of violence. Specifically, the program proposes to target socially influential individuals from across community sub-groups. The goal is for these groups to engage in a basic education program that will equip them to integrate moments of prevention within existing relationships and daily activities. By doing so, new norms will be introduced and those within their sphere of influence will be significantly influenced to become proactively involved in stopping and reducing power-based personal violence and other forms of violence and harassment in their community.

GREEN DOT – BYSTANDER INTERVENTION PROGRAM TO REDUCE POWER-BASED PERSONAL VIOLENCE Len Paris Manager, Campus Police Services, University of Toronto Mississauga


ower-based personal violence happens in such a staggering degree that the only workable solution must involve a broad-based social movement to reduce and combat it. The University of Toronto campuses in Toronto, Scarborough and Mississauga introduced a new crime prevention program to its community members in October 2011. The program was originally developed at the University of Kentucky in their Violence Intervention and Prevention Center. The University of Toronto was the first Canadian institution to train over forty facilitators and to introduce this new program to its community members. The new program is called “Green Dot” and it is symbolized by turning the “Red Dots” of violence, sexual assault, threats, harassment, and the choice to “do nothing”, into the Green Dots of intervention, empathy and action to stop power-based personal violence in our communities. A Green Dot is simply the individual choice at any given moment to make our communities safer by refusing to do nothing when witnessing a violent, abusive or harassing act in our communities. The Green Dot strategy is a comprehensive approach to violence prevention that capitalizes on the power of peer and cultural influence. Informed by social change theory, the model targets all community members as potential bystanders, and seeks to engage them, through awareness, education and skills-practice, in proactive

The Green Dot Program involves a one day interactive seminar where participants learn, practice and share methods to recognize and respond to incidents of violence and harassment. Participants who have taken the seminar, have stated that they are now more prepared to actively and visibly oppose violence, safely intervene in situations, and stand up and support victims of violence and harassment. A university student who recently took the one day seminar stated afterwards:

“During Reading Week, I had the opportunity to attend a Green Dot training session. During this one-day training event, I learned the knowledge that has empowered me to stand up to perpetrators. Listening to the many stories that were shared by fellow students and staff in attendance has emphasized the prevalence of power-based violence and given me the courage to prevent it when given the opportunity to do so. It was an amazing experience!” The Green Dot program does not prescribe what you should do, it just asks you to do something. The Green Dot Program stresses that bystander safety and the safety of others nearby are paramount and must always be considered. When alone and witnessing a risky situation, the only safe option may be to call friends, colleagues or the police in order to intervene. The three major categories of “reactive “Green Dots are: Direct Intervention, Distraction Techniques, and Delegation to others who may be in a safer or more appropriate position to respond and assist. During the next year, the University of Toronto will be evaluating its Green Dot program and the success of the seminars. It will also be looking for ways to deliver more Green Dot seminars and awareness to its campus communities. Their first year proved to be very successful. Future success of this program rests with members of the community taking an active interest in making their community a safe and caring place to work, live study and play. CS

“No one has to do everything but everyone has to do something” s u p p o rt i n g o u r a dv e rt i s e r s s u p p o rt s c r i m e s e n s e



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Crimesense Magazine - Fall 2012 - Ottawa  

This issue of Crimesense features articles on the Ottawa Police's new Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project, community based crime preve...

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