Crime Prevention Ottawa works with a range of community partners to address gangs through the Ottawa Street Violence and Gang Strategy . (full report)  The Ottawa Street Violence and Gang Strategy has been successful in building new partnerships, improving service delivery, increasing awareness of services, and enhancing cross-agency collaboration and service coordination using a four-pillar approach:

The strategy was developed using best practices research and an extensive consultation. It is regularly evaluated to measure the collective impact of our multiple projects, see:

Neighbourhood cohesion

Through the Community Leadership Network for Families, the strategy is increasing trust, understanding and collaboration between immigrant communities and the Canadian justice system. It is also helping newcomer parents understand rights and responsibilities in the youth criminal justice system.

To date, the network has engaged nearly 500 agencies and community members, trained 111 facilitators who speak 20 languages, and developed the guide, Youth Criminal Justice: What Parents Should Know. To organize a workshop in your community, contact us at cpo@ottawa.ca.

Gang strategy partners have also developed a Post-Incident Neighbourhood Support Framework to reassure and support neighbourhoods affected by traumatic events. The framework is designed to better coordinate communities’ responses to traumatic incidents (e.g. drive by shootings, murder, home takeovers and major arrests) that are potentially gang-related, and to build community resilience.

To address safety priorities in Pinecrest-Queensway, the United Neighbours, Levers of Change project is focused on strengthening partnerships between residents and community agencies.

Prevention

As part of the Ottawa Street Violence and Gang Strategy, our street violence prevention initiatives aim to positively engage young people with their families, their schools and their communities to prevent gang involvement.

To date, our partners have:

  • Created an enhanced risk-identification tool and improved information sharing among agencies to connect youth and families to services.
  • Supported families through a coordinated response to preventing gang involvement for siblings at risk.
  • Hosted training and information events, including a gang conference, to educate staff in service agencies and community organizations.
  • Integrated the YOW Program Ottawa to bridge the gap between youth and the services they need.

Intervention

Time for Change: “Exit” Service

Time for Change, a gang intervention service, uses an intensive casework model to help young adults, adults and families who are impacted by gang involvement.

The approach is tailored to each person’s needs, and includes support and services such as community engagement, counselling and health services, education and training, employment, family reunification, housing, mentorship, and safety and stability.

The gang intervention service is offered by the John Howard Society of Ottawa and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO).

Other intervention activities under the Ottawa Gang Strategy include:

  • Provincial Gang Asset Mapping Initiative: Mapping services available to youth involved in street violence
  • Ottawa Community Youth Diversion Program: Successfully supporting over 350 at-risk youth through this program, which helps youth in conflict with the law.

Enforcement and suppression

Ottawa Gang Strategy partners have made progress in enforcement and suppression of street violence. This work relies on close collaboration between law enforcement and community partners, including the prosecution, sentencing, incarceration and court-ordered community supervision after release. The Ottawa Police Service’s Guns and Gangs Strategy and Direct Action Response Team (DART) Program’s targeted efforts against street violence include:
  • Strong communication links with local leaders in communities identified as high-risk for gang-related activity.
  • Proactive enforcement measures during events and concerts attended by street gang members or where acts of violence are anticipated.
  • Compliance checks targeting known street gang members who have been charged with previous criminal offences, to ensure their compliance to any conditions of judicial release.
Monitoring and targeting high risk offenders and youth that may gravitate toward street and gun violence.