The focus of the Neighbourhood Watch Program in Central Park is to encourage neighbours to get to know one another and to share information so that we can all work together to make our community as safe and secure as possible. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience.
2020 Central Park Neighbourhood Watch
We currently are in the works of reviving the Neighbourhood Watch and will be sending out virtual meeting invites to those who are interested in participating. This will be a meeting over Zoom to talk about how we can ensure neighbourhood safety among the recent suspicious activities around our streets.
Make the right call
|911||Life-Threatening Emergency or Crime in Progress|
|613-236-1222 ext. 7300||Call centre: To report theft, property damage, missing person or stolen vehicle.|
|613-236-1222||Community Police Centres and all other enquiries|
|3-1-1 or ottawa.ca||To report graffiti on public property (parks, roads, street signs, utility boxes, newspaper boxes or Canada Post boxes) or private property (residential, businesses, industrial)|
How does a Neighbourhood Watch work to reduce crime?
A Neighbourhood Watch is powered not by individual activism but by numbers – the more people involved, the better. Basically, a Watch works in three ways:
- If a Watch is established on a street or in a neighbourhood, would-be criminals go elsewhere. It does work – for example, in another community where there were a number of break and enters and where cars were being broken into, the police just let a few people know in the right circles that the local Watch had become concerned and that members had been told to keep their eyes open. The crimes stopped almost immediately.
- People involved in a Watch know who to call and when – police patrols and activities are driven by call statistics – if crimes go unreported, then crimes go unnoticed by the police – they can’t allocate resources to address problems they don’t know about. So knowing who to call, and when, matters a great deal.
- Through the communications network established by the Watch, information and services, such as how to make your property more secure, can be more easily shared, further discouraging crime. As well, products such as graffiti removal kits can be distributed to members so they can act directly and immediately to address certain issues.
What is the Neighbourhood Watch?
The Watch is a program through which neighbours assist each other in protecting their safety and property. We can’t always be home to watch our possessions or with the ones we love to ensure everything is okay – the Watch simply assists with this by expanding the number of people we can depend on for support. Basically, it’s based on people being good neighbours and doing what good neighbours do naturally, but the Watch facilitates people getting to know each other and becoming good neighbours – this isn’t always easy with our busy lives.
Why does Central Park need a Neighbourhood Watch?
Central Park is a good, safe community. But it does have pockets of concern. On certain streets windows are sometimes broken. Along the park path community assets and infrastructure are sometimes vandalized (broken bus shelter, graffiti). And, like many parts of Ottawa, there are car break-ins.. We also occasionally have break and enters, again like other parts of the city. These are all issues a Neighbourhood Watch can discourage through the distribution of information and materials to make our property safer and ourselves more secure, and through tightening our relationship with the police so that, when a crime does occur, they can more easily lay charges and direct the resources needed to reduce crime in future.
I don’t believe it works!
It doesn’t work as well as it can if membership is limited – in general, we need 50%+ participation within a specific confined area (street, neighbourhood, etc.). But if you have the numbers it works. For example, it has been observed that prostitutes and drug dealers actively avoid areas where there are Neighbourhood Watches, because they are repeatedly monitored and harassed by the police. They attribute this directly to the vigilance of local Neighbourhood Watches. If criminals don’t like the program, it is doing something right.
What does being a member entail?
Very little – primarily we would only want you to keep your eyes and ears open, be aware of what is happening and, if you see something that doesn’t seem right, call the correct people. You’ll receive access to the Neighbourhood Watch’s private discussion board on the community Association’s Website and can expect to receive one, sometimes two, e-mails a month containing information on recent developments in and around the community. A couple of times a year we’ll hold a social event/meeting so people can meet and talk, but that’s optional. That’s it.
What’s in it for me?
It’s all upside for the member. You will have opportunities to meet your neighbours, particularly those immediately around you. You get information and can access services that help you protect your property and the safety of your family. You get access to a neighbourhood network that only members can access to discuss crime and safety issues.