A few months ago, Crime Prevention Ottawa launched a "toolkit" for neighbourhoods, for each area to use to help reduce crime. They've just re-sent it out to their mailing list.
There are some good tips, suggestions, and links in it - I have a few criticisms and suggestions to add:
- as many do, this prevention guide cites the "broken window" theory - that is you leave windows broken, garbage around, and poor lighting in an area, it will show it's not cared for and petty crime will continue there. Fair enough, but then the guide (and many others) say this will also lead to an increase in serious crime. Not necessarily so - I looked further into this a few years ago - see this article.
- graffiti management focus on eradication and enforcement - clean it off right away and patrol the area more. Both of these work, but so can covering the offending wall with a mural - preferably community designed with local youth involved in the solution. Ottawa's own Paint It Up! program has directed $50,000 to that sort of approach this summer, with excellent results. More on that on my home page, or on that of Ottawa Urban Arts. Hopefully the next tool-kit edition will include information on this program.
- community cleanup advice should also include mural work. Although currently the Ottawa graffiti bylaws will fine you for graffiti on a business or residential property,under the permanent sign bylaw only businesses or multi-residential areas are allowed to cover it with a mural. So far, if it's your own garage or fence, you have to just keep painting it over.
From the release:
Crime Prevention Ottawa’s Neighbourhood Toolkit is an online resource (a printable version is also available on the website) that provides ideas, information and resources to help Ottawa residents make their neighbourhoods better places to live. The Toolkit encourages residents to get involved in their neighbourhoods and to be accountable and proactive about community safety. Individuals, community associations, Neighbourhood Watch volunteers and many others will find helpful ideas and practical information about building safer neighbourhoods from the ground up. The Toolkit also contains information about specific problems and crimes and how to get help from municipal and community resources in Ottawa. You can learn more about the Toolkit by visiting: www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/toolkit.