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Ottawa police to outline plans for targeted enforcement in ByWard Market, Rideau Street area

The Ottawa Police Services Board and the public will learn more details this evening about the plan for an increased enforcement blitz targeting “hot spots” for crime in the ByWard Market and on Rideau Street this spring.

Police say the new Community Outreach Response and Engagement Strategy, which includes stepped up enforcement, is a “central element” of its plan to improve safety for residents, tourists and businesses in the downtown core. The plan also includes opening a new neighbourhood operations centre in the Rideau Centre at the end of May.

“The CORE Strategy is a comprehensive action plan for the safety concerns in Ottawa’s Byward Market and Rideau Street corridor,” says a report for the Ottawa Police Services Board.

“It is focused on sustainable prevention, deterrence, and enforcement solutions, and marks a shift from reactive policing to 2 proactive management of community issues.”

Police say there are five interconnected initiatives as part of the CORE strategy. The five initiatives are:

  • Neighbourhood Operations Centre in the Rideau Centre.
  • An Integrated Community Situation Table that “employs partnerships and community support to provide immediate, coordinated interventions for the most vulnerable, at-risk individuals,” the report says,
  • Police targeting hot spots of high crime concentration with increased visibility of law enforcement officers and community partners, “with the intent of deterring crime and improving perceptions of public safety,” staff says,
  • Focused enforcement identifying high-harm offenders and directing swift enforcement action to “curtail and deter further offending.”
  • A Community Advisory Board to lead the CORE strategy, coordinating efforts across agencies for multi-agency improvements and long-term solutions.

As part of the stepped-up enforcement, police will deploy “intermittent, highly visible patrols” along Rideau Street and in the ByWard Market and Lowtertown, according to the report.

“Specific initiatives include a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Blitz planned for the late spring,” police said.

“This will involve the use of data analytics and community partner engagement to identify locations and businesses most affected by crime and social disorder.”

Police say they will also conduct “focused enforcement,” identifying “repeat high harm offenders” involved in serious and violent crime.

A report for the Ottawa Police Services Board shows hot spots in the ByWard Market and Rideau Street area based on highest Crime Severity Index of primary offences between Feb. 19 and March 17, 2024. (Ottawa Police Services Board/report)

The Ontario government and the city of Ottawa announced a new deal for the city in late March, which included $48 million over three years to address community and public safety. The funding will cover an increase in uniformed police officers in the ByWard Market and on the transit system, along with alternative mental health supports. 

The Ottawa Police Services Board meeting is set for 4 p.m.  The board is scheduled to receive an update on the implementation plan for its CORE Strategy and the new police station in the ByWard Market.

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