Rawlson King, President of the Overbrook Community Association, told CBC Ottawa that community groups in the neighbourhood are working hard to steer youth away from a life of crime, despite a recent shooting.
"It is disappointing whenever you hear about a shooting, but I do think we are better positioned than a lot of other neighbourhoods."
After this most recent incident, the community launched its post-incident neighbourhood support protocol as an initial rapid response. The protocol, which has now be adopted city-wide, was initially piloted in Overbrook, in conjunction with the community association.
Under the protocol, different City agencies and community associations collaborate on a collective response immediately after an incident has occurred. In the wake of the latest shooting, Ward 13 City Councillor Tobi Nussbaum's office convened a call with Ottawa Community Housing, the Ottawa Police Service, the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre and the Overbrook Community Association to share information about collective actions taken.
The results of initiating the protocol in this instance were: increased security patrols, along with the canvassing of nearby residents and businesses by police and social agencies to obtain resident feedback and input and increase safety awareness and crime prevention.
As a long term response, Overbrook is also on the cusp of unveiling a youth strategy after two years of consultations. The strategy is designed to give young people in the neighbourhood greater access to job and training opportunities, as well as safe recreational activities.
Previous crime reports noted that “youth not attending school” has been a significant predictor of overall criminal activity in Overbrook. Statistics show that 65 percent of all crime in Ward 13 are committed by youth, which is higher than the city average.
Working in conjunction partners including the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, Ottawa Community Housing and the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, the community is exploring new programming for at-youth risk.
Other efforts that Overbrook have made include a push, starting five years ago, to establish more neighbourhood watches. As a result, Overbrook now has some of the most active and effective watches in the city.