Crime Prevention Ottawa Presents Gang Strategy Report

On Monday October 3rd I attended the Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) Board meeting in my capacity as Chair of the board where a presentation update was made on the Ottawa Gang Strategy.

The Ottawa Gang Strategy was established to help address the issues related to Ottawa’s gang problem.  From 2013 to present, the Ottawa Gang Strategy offered a roadmap to help the city address gangs and street level violence. This vast partnership—made up of social service agencies, community organizations, police, schools and others—developed and implemented 12 initiatives that addressed the problem from every angle.

Together with partners CPO and the Ottawa Police formed the Ottawa Gang Strategy Steering Committee, each drawing on their expertise, knowledge of the issues, networks, resources and determination to work collectively to address the problem.

The report details the strategy’s outcomes and results measured through an independent evaluation in 2016. While it summarizes what we have achieved in three years, our work on gangs and street level violence continues. The strategy will evolve and change based on our understanding of the issues and the shifting realities in our city.

How effective has the Ottawa Gang Strategy (OGS) been at achieving its objectives? Real progress takes time, and is measured in years. However, when surveyed in 2016, 89% of OGS Steering Committee members felt that the group had accomplished more together than they would have achieved through traditional work structures.

Other findings include:

  • 100% agreed that the initiatives enhanced cross-agency collaboration and service coordination
  • 100% agreed that the OGS and the work of the Steering Committee has added value to community-wide and individual organizations’ efforts to address gang related issues in Ottawa

It has been exciting to watch the Ottawa Gang Strategy unfold and achieve results by addressing the problem of street level violence from every angle. We have worked collectively as a community, each bringing expertise and resources to the table. We have had incredible support from  Mayor Watson and Council. Together, we’re bringing positive change to individuals, families, neighbourhoods and our entire community

The lessons learned through our work and this independent evaluation will lead to the next steps in addressing street level violence in Ottawa. As a group, we will examine our governance model to find better ways to work together for greater impact. We will shift our approach to meet the realities of what we know is happening in the streets and in our communities. We know those realities are constantly shifting and we will continue to focus on creating safer neighbourhoods and environments for everyone in Ottawa.

Crime Prevention Ottawa is an arm’s-length body involving a variety of external organizations with an annual reporting requirement to the City. They publish their meeting materials directly to their own web site http://www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/en/who-we-are/schedule-and-agendas. Further questions may be directed to Nancy Worsfold, Executive Director of Crime Prevention Ottawa.

On behalf of CPO and our Board I would like to thank the Ottawa Police Service and Mayor Watson for their support so that we can continue to engage with residents to educate and create safer communities moving forward.