Over the past few weeks Bay Ward has experienced shooting incidents that have shaken the Britannia Woods community and beyond. The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) believe that these incidents could be gang and drug related, following street level conflicts. They are not only linked geographically but also by those involved as persons of interest.
This past Monday morning I held a joint meeting with the Chief of Police, Peter Sloly and members of his staff, along with Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) Management and Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre. I have also met with residents living in Britannia Woods, who are frightened for the safety of their children. I can only imagine their fears as a parent, grandparent and community neighbour.
Ottawa Police Services have made a commitment to increase their presence in vulnerable neighbourhoods to ensure the safety of those who live there. Their immediate goal is to protect and serve the area by being onsite 24 hours per day, seven days per week. In addition to their presence they are continuing to review additional efforts to restore community safety and wellbeing. This October our community will see additional full time community officers assigned specifically to our neighbourhood.
Protecting our community from an immediate security threat is the current goal but going forward we need to prevent any young person from becoming involved in violence in the first place. My goal is to bring together our community stakeholders and focus on early intervention and prevention and find real alternatives to youth at risk. This will involve key partners like OCH along with local community stakeholders.
These are challenging times not only from the effects of these particular shooting incidents but also with Covid-19, higher unemployment, a dire shortage of affordable housing. Britannia Woods is home to many loving families with children. They need our support now more than ever.
Anyone with information that can help police with gun violence incidents are encouraged to share that information with police, as long as it does not put their safety at risk.
OPS remind Ottawa residents that if they suspect someone is carrying a crime gun, they can contact the Ottawa Police Guns and Gangs Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5050. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca