Source: Ottawa Police Service
The ByWard Market/Rideau Street/Lowertown districts is one of three additional teams of neighbourhood-based police officers working in high-priority neighbourhoods in 2020. The ByWard Market/Rideau Street/Lowertown Neighbourhood Response Team (NRT) begins in May using existing resources approved in the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) Budget. These teams will add to the current Neighbourhood Response Teams (NRT) located in Vanier/Overbrook, Heron Gate/South Ottawa and Carlington/Caldwell that were deployed in 2019.
These neighbourhoods were selected due to an increased volume of crime (including gun, gang and drug related violent street crime), the presence of complex social issues that underpin most crime (housing, employment, education, health, marginalization, discrimination, etc.) and a high number of calls for police service.
The NRT officers will be dedicated exclusively to their assigned neighbourhoods for a minimum of two years, where they will work in an integrated and coordinated way with local community residents and partners, not-for-profit organizations, business associations and city staff to assess and address crime, social disorder and their underlying socio economic issues. The NRTs are composed of experienced officers with the personal and professional maturity to manage complex crime and socio economic issues affecting their assigned neighbourhood.
The officers will have proven foundational policing skills for crime prevention, order management, emergency response and law enforcement – they will also receive specialized training and development including: problem solving, conflict mediation, effective communication, (inter)cultural competency. The NRT’s will be dedicated to a single neighbourhood for multi-year assignments – each NRT will also be allotted an appropriate dedicated complement of School Resource Officers (SRO), Community Police Officers (CPO) and Traffic officers.
While investments into Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRTs) have started to see a positive response in dealing with street crime and violence, a “whole-of-Ottawa” approach is needed that will focus on building a stronger and safer city.
Investigative units have targeted high offenders in areas of violent crime resulting in a number of arrests and guns seized.
In 2019, Ottawa saw a reduction of the number of shootings from 78 to 73, and a total of 13 homicides (five of which were gun-related), down from 16 in 2018. Additionally, 70 crime guns were seized by police in 2019, up from 68 in 2018. As of January 14, 2020, police have already seized eight crime guns.
Chief Sloly and his Executive Command have been reviewing the current approach to preventing and reducing firearms violence and street crime in Ottawa. These efforts will be increased as OPS incorporates a new Crime Disorder Management Process. It is a new response model intended to support victims and communities by addressing heightened fear and anxiety within the immediate aftermath of violent crimes. This process will assist OPS in developing a more dynamic approach to crime reduction, quality-of-life improvements, and personnel and resource management. It will provide command officers immediate access to operational information city-wide to be better able to use trend analysis and predictive tools for measurement and more informed decision making practices.
The OPS will continue to work with Crime Prevention Ottawa, our Community Equity Council and other partners to refresh the existing Street Violence and Gang Strategy that is part of a collaborative effort with community partners city-wide.
More information about this initiative will be released to the Ottawa Police Services Board in January.
- The NRTs are designed to increase police presence and address community concerns about crime and social disorder. The Community Police Officer (CPO) will still remain the single point of contact for each neighbourhood, and will work closely with community partners and NRT officers to increase the safety of these areas. This includes addressing issues like problem addresses, drug dealing and other incidents that require a coordinated response.
- The members selected for the NRTs are experienced officers who have been assigned on longer fixed service terms to ensure they work in the same areas over several years. This will allow them to build long-term relationships and get to know the people and communities they serve.
- NRT officers have been given specialized training, focusing on the areas where they will be deployed. It includes learning about relationship-building strategies, cultural awareness, how to establish neighbourhood networks, human-trafficking issues, and hate-motivated incidents and investigations. This training is designed to assist the NRT officers to address each neighbourhood’s specific needs.
Additionally, the NRTs will be monitored by Carleton University’s Dr. Linda Duxbury. Her team will evaluate the efficacy of the NRTs and offer feedback as the program grows. This accountability measure will ensure that goals are set, and met, to improve overall community safety.
Residents are encouraged to continue reporting crimes using normal practices – dialing 911 for life threatening emergencies and crimes in progress; and 613-236-1222 for non-emergencies.