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Neighbourhood Watch - Bulletin February 2013

New Community Police Officer (CPCO)

Some of you may have already had the opportunity to meet our new CPCO, Constable Admir Minarolli at the Winter Follies event held 9 February. He will be our CPCO for the next 4 years. Constable Minarolli has been with the OPS for approximately 8 years and is familiar with our community as he was assigned to patrol in our ward for the first 4 years of his career. For the next 3 years, he worked in the west end in a plain-clothes capacity, with the majority of that time being dedicated to pro-active policing in problem areas, dealing mostly with drug complaints. Last summer, Constable Minarolli was seconded to DART, Ottawa Police's Direct Action Response Team, which is a provincially funded unit that monitors street gang activity and provides a highly visible uniform police enforcement presence in the community.

Update on Crime

There has been an increase in the number of Crime Alerts issued by the Ottawa Police through their Community Police Centers in areas surrounding our neighbourhood. The Crime Alerts are primarily notifying Neighbourhood Watch about an increase in property crime in neighbouring communities, the most significant of which is theft from vehicles. These thefts are occurring in shopping malls we all frequent like Carlingwood, Lincoln Fields and Bayshore as well as in many of the retail strip malls where we do our banking or pick up and drop off our drycleaning. We just want you to be aware of this and to remind you to mitigate the likelihood of becoming a victim by taking the following preventative measures while you are out and about running your errands:

  • Don't leave personal identification, vehicle registration or insurance certificates or credit cards in your vehicle
  • Inscribe your vehicle registration number on the stereo system, wheel rims, tools, etc.
  • Remove parcels from view
  • Never leave your keys in an unattended vehicle, even when running a quick errand
  • Always lock the doors and roll up the windows tightly
  • Don't hide spare keys - they can be found
  • Never put your name and address on your keys - this can lead the thief to your home and allow easy access. Keep your house and car keys separate
  • Consider installing anti-theft devices

There have been no crime reports filed with the Ottawa Police from within Lincoln Heights-Parkway Community in recent months; however, some members of our community have been victims of property crime at some of these shopping areas.

Crime Alerts are also advising of a surge in residential break and enters in communities adjacent to ours. The incidents are occurring during the daytime, evening and overnight.

What you can do - Safety Tips:

  • Have adequate external lighting - house numbers should be easily visible to neighbors/emergency response units.
  • Improve home security with deadbolt locks, window bars, alarm systems
  • Do not leave notes on your door indicating your absence.
  • Be sure to keep your garage and shed locked.
  • Secure patio doors by inserting by inserting wooden stick in floor channel.
  • Do not leave hidden keys outside as they can be found.
  • Trim trees and shrubs that could easily hide intruders.
  • Inform trusted neighbors or relatives of your vacation plans.
  • Leave your house with a lived-in look - use automatic timers to turn on lights and radios.
  • Have someone park in your driveway when away, pick up mail, newspapers and flyers.
  • Have your snow removed while you are away.
  • Do not leave valuables (keys, purses, phones or laptops) visible inside the homes near windows.
  • Get involved in a Neighborhood Watch program in your area.
  • Call police should you observe suspicious persons or vehicles.

To Report:

  • life threatening emergencies or crimes in progress: 9-1-1
  • other emergencies (suspicious persons/vehicles): 613-230-6211
  • thefts, property damage, driving complaints, missing persons or stolen property: 613-236-1222 ext 7300 or Bayshore Community Police Center Telephone: 613-236-1222, Ext 2345

Mud Lake Conservation Area

Our community association has been contacted by the Britannia Neighbourhood Watch to advise us of some significant concerns they have regarding crime and bylaw infractions affecting the Mud Lake Conservation area and the wildlife that resides within it. We are fortunate to have such a lovely area to enjoy, but we are now at risk of losing this tranquil escape to vandalism and cruelty. The following letter has been sent by the Britannia Neighbourhood Watch to Councilor Mark Taylor, MP John Baird and Mr. Jean-Francois Trépanier of the NCC.

The Mud Lake Conservation Area, which covers 62 hectares, is federal property and the responsibility of the National Capital Commission. The Britannia Water Purification Plant is a City of Ottawa facility sitting between Mud Lake and the Ottawa River just downstream from DeschĂȘnes Rapids. We are concerned that issues of resources and jurisdiction are resulting in this area falling through the cracks.

The Ottawa Police has jurisdiction on the Britannia Water Purification Plant property, but do not seem to be alerted by plant security personnel when suspicious activities are occurring. They can only enter the conservation area when a crime is reported to be in progress.

The RCMP has responsibility for criminal law enforcement in the conservation area, but do not have a presence to deter or interrupt criminal activity.

The NCC is responsible for bylaw enforcement in the conservation area but, whether because of resource limitations or policy, rarely patrols the interior of the area and almost never enters at the times of peak illegal activity.

We have discussed this issue with our Ottawa Police Service Community Constable over the course of the year and feel it is time to ask for a meeting between the parties to address how we can work together to ensure that bylaw infractions and criminal activity taking place in the conservation area and at the Britannia Water Purification Plant are controlled, contained, and do not continue to spill into our neighbourhood.

It is not uncommon, even in winter, to see groups of teenagers carrying alcohol and food down Britannia Road and, presumably, into the woods. Nor is it uncommon to see individuals with camping gear heading that way. We have attached a map to the area showing where fires and camps have been observed. That illegal activity takes place with alarming frequency is illustrated by the following "Events" list.

Events within the boundaries of Mud Lake

  • 35 fire sites identified many in regular use by multiple individuals and showing evidence of drug and alcohol consumption and sexual activity.
  • 14 camps involving structures of some sort (lean-to, tent, barricade)
  • Regular evidence of running paintball battles, cryptic signs, graffiti
  • Discarded court document, drug voucher, credit cards
  • Two male adults throwing large hunting knives at trees
  • A group of young teenagers firing pellet guns at ducks
  • Snaring, wounding and killing of snapping turtles at the lookout and at the bridge
  • Two teenagers on a motorbike wandering the main and secondary trails for more than an hour on two occasions
  • Group of young adult bicyclists racing a circuit through the Conservation area
  • Consumption of alcohol and drugs along the pathways and particularly on the lookout
  • Loose dogs, with or without owners in close proximity
  • Sexual activity in view of passing walkers
  • Belligerent or threatening or suspicious individuals loitering (alone or in groups)
  • Chopping and breaking of planks on the wooden observation platform and bridge

Events on Britannia Water Purification Plant property and along Cassels

  • Drug transactions along the shoreline to the east of the berm and at the boat launch area at the end of the filtration plant roadway
  • Sexual activity in automobiles
  • Consumption of alcohol and drugs in or near automobiles
  • Marijuana being smoked in a parked garbage truck

Many, although not all of these events, have been reported to NCC. Between July 2010 and March 2012, Stephen Clarke sent 10 emails (many with a map attached), made 6 telephone calls to NCC office or directly to an NCC Officer, and had 6 face-to-face discussions with an NCC Officer or Officers, or contractors repairing vandalized property. Other members of the community may have filed other reports.

Your assessment of the situation and suggestions for its amelioration will be greatly appreciated.

Map of Mud Lake showing trail system

If you are going to walk through the conservation area, please be vigilant and "buddy up" if you are walking in their after dark. Please don't go in alone. The Lincoln Heights-Parkway Neighbourhood Watch has contacted the CPCO, Cst Admir Minarolli, to request a meeting with Britannia NHW to discuss this matter further in an effort to determine what support we can lend in combating the criminal and by-law concerns expressed in the letter. We will keep you apprised of the situation through future Neighbourhood Watch Bulletins.

Contact the Neighbourhood Watch

Watch Coordinator

Cori Bourgon, 2555 Regina Street, 613-219-6887

Block Captains

Suzanne Gauthier, 185 Lincoln Heights Road, 613-768-9546
Mike Thompson, 139 Lincoln Heights Road, 613-829-4518
Breda Kelly, 120 Lincoln Heights Road, 613-721-6939