Police say crime is not on the rise in OOE

By Joe Paraskevas

Ottawa police say they have not noticed a jump in crime in Old Ottawa East despite a number of incidents this past summer that left some residents concerned.

Investigators with two different units of the Ottawa Police Service – robbery, and guns and gangs – were assigned to crimes in OOE, spokesman Constable Marc Soucy admitted. But he was quick to point out this was routine.

Crime analysts with the police service, who study crime reports from across the city and relay any trends they spot to front-line officers, did not take note of a spike in Old Ottawa East, Soucy said.

However, Old Ottawa East, an otherwise peaceful neighborhood has experienced four violent incidents over the past six months. On June 14, police arrested a 23-year-old man after a 27-year-old man was shot during an early-morning incident near Rosemere and Springhurst avenues.

Five days later, a man robbed the Scotiabank branch at Main Street and Hawthorne Avenue and escaped with an undisclosed amount of money.

On September 14, police responded to a suspected shooting in the Main and Riverdale area. Six days later, a further gun-related incident at an AirBnB rental in Concord St North left two people injured.

These violent incidents are in addition to a perceived increase in property crime over the past 18 months. Residents, particularly in OOE’s northeast neighbourhoods between Main and the Lees transitway station, have regularly circulated e-mails of car thefts, home break-ins and cases of suspicious people seen wandering in the area.

Most recently Cst. Stephanie Lemieux, provided the Old Ottawa East Community Association with information that said an increase in thefts from vehicles has been noticed.

“I don’t know why the cops would say [crime hasn’t increased],” said a 40-year-old man who lives at the high-rise apartment building at 169 Lees Ave. and also works in the area. “Only in the last year, I’ve seen them 12 times.”

The man, who has lived in OOE for eight years, went on to say his neighbourhood, which until recent years was a magnet for students and families, has begun to attract people doing drugs.

“(The police) can say there is no pattern,” the man said. “There is. It’s a bad pattern.”

Even in the face of crimes both high-profile and localized, most people are not alarmed that life in OOE is becoming more dangerous.

“I would not say that I feel any increase in crime in the neighborhood,” said a Chestnut Street resident. “We did have that one shooting event on Springhurst in the last year, but that felt like a freak event.”

A woman who works at the Old Town Hall community centre three or four days a week said she had not heard users talking about a growing sense of insecurity.

A business owner across the street agreed with police evaluations that crime was not a growing problem in OOE.

Source: Ottawa Police Service

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Filed in: Features, FP, Front Page

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