Ottawa

Police walking beats in ByWard Market to reduce crime

A new team of Ottawa police officers will be walking foot patrol beats in the ByWard Market for the next three months, starting today.

3-month pilot project allows 14 officers to walk foot patrols in the market

A new team of Ottawa police officers will be walking foot patrol beats in the ByWard Market for the next three months, starting today.

It's a pilot project aimed at reducing crime in the busy area during the busier summer months.

Fourteen officers have been added to the set of 59 officers who usually patrol the market in various ways.

The officers will walk assigned beats in staggered shifts throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m., said Insp. Chris Rheaume.

"They'll be teamed up in pairs, and they'll be walking together, not answering calls for service but generating calls for service," Rheaume said. "They'll be targeting hot spots, dealing with problems, as they go along."

10 hot spots identified

Foot patrols existed in the market 15 years ago, but different needs evolved the program over time, Rheaume said.

Now, because of neighbourhood complaints about things such as drug trafficking, vagrancy, loitering, theft and more, 10 hot spots in the market have been identified and will be targeted by the officers.

"What this is going to do is provide more officers on the street just to help [with] things that you can't see when you're in a cruiser," Rheaume said.

The hot spots include Rideau Street in front of the Rideau Centre, the back of the McDonald's and more.

"The fact that we're walking … we're seeing things, we're looking at people, you're making eye contact with people, you're actually engaged with the community. So it's a good way of policing," Rheaume said.

If the pilot is successful, Rheaume hopes to bring it back next year.

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