Guns and Gangs

PIVOT

In 2018, outside of our daily community engagements , PIVOT reached out to the following stakeholders to build relationships:

  • Christie Lake Camp Fundraiser: Canoe for Kids
  • Tim Horton’s Camp Day – officers worked drive thru
  • Community Association Safety Meetings
  • John Howard Society,
  • Parole and Probation,
  • South end community meeting ,
  • Overbrook Community Centre,
  • Ottawa Carleton Housing Security,
  • Crime Prevention Ottawa
  • Ontario Justice Education Network events through the summer,
  • West End Motivator’s youth program
  • Ottawa RedBlacks games
  • Black Panther movie night for youth at TD Place
  • Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre,
  • Several elementary schools across the city

As Ottawa saw an increase in the number of shooting incidents, year over year, the OPS Guns and Gangs (G&G) Unit took steps to create its own internal strategy that aligned with the work they did with Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO) on its Ottawa Street Violence and Gang Strategy (OSVGS).

The internal strategy recognizes that resolving the issue of street and gun violence in the city goes beyond the scope of enforcement and suppression activities, and includes a holistic approach to many of the socio-economic factors that contribute to this type of criminality. Any initiative aimed at combating this trend needs to include building neighbourhood wellbeing and community safety.

The OPS G&G Strategy includes a familiar CPO four-pillar approach to resolving incidents of gang violence in our city. This entails:

Neighbourhood Cohesion: In neighbourhoods affected by street-level violence, build resilient children, families and communities through positive relationships.
Prevention: Take inclusive and preventative approaches through social development, situational measures, education, awareness and community policing.
Intervention: Identify intervention opportunities for children, youth and adults, including those at-risk, on the edge of joining a gang, or looking to leave gang life; as well as
Enforcement and Suppression: Conduct targeted, sustained and effective enforcement.

So it was important that OPS develop a way to interact with community residents and other stakeholders that didn’t jeopardize covert requirements that are sometimes involved in the investigative process. As the OPS gained grant funding from the federal government, that was later redirected to the province for distribution, it augmented its existing G&G complement, and added a new section to the unit.

In 2018, the OPS introduced the new Prevention and Intervention of Violence in Ottawa (PIVOT) unit as a social arm of G&G. While PIVOT would still employ traditional enforcement and suppression techniques, it would also incorporate the other three pillars of the strategy plan.

Police rely on cooperation from residents to help resolve incidents of street violence and gang activity in our city’s neighbourhoods. The more information we receive, whether through filing a formal report or offering an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers, the more effectively the OPS can reduce and eliminate these incidents of violence. 

PIVOT is the community outreach vehicle for G&G, where officers connect with community associations, frontline agencies, and residents to provide education and greater access to the OPS. It’s about building new partnerships and trust, particularly with under-reported areas of the city. It’s also an opportunity to connect with key stakeholders to discuss ways to counter increased street violence or gang activity in their neighbourhoods.  PIVOT met with area community associations and frontline agencies more than two dozen times in 2018. It plans to increase these outreach initiatives in 2019.

Additionally, PIVOT began the work of integrating frontline officers into its daily activities, encouraging a greater sharing of information and activities city-wide throughout the Service. Going into 2019, G&G plans to encourage more cross-section collaboration throughout the Service to respond to incidents of street violence and gang activity in Ottawa.

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