Municipal candidates weigh in on NDG violence reports
Municipal candidates running in the Loyola district of NDG are each promising to do more about violent incidents being reported by merchants and residents in their neighbourhood.
"It's disconcerting to say the least," said Projet Montreal candidate Christian Arseneault. He said for most of his 25 years, Sherbrooke Street has always seemed safe, a contrast to the flurry of complaints of violence and crime on Sherbrooke Street east of Cavendish. He advocates using the available and often-little known community resources as much as possible, for example to deal with people with mental health problems or youth unemployment.
"For example working with the police to devote more resources to psycho-social workers during their operations in the neighbourhood," Arseneault said.
Coalition Montreal candidate Margaret Ford said it's also a matter of pinpointing which resources are needed and how much funding they need.
"I think anyone who deals with youth knows you're constantly battling to get resources to deal with those kinds of issues," Ford said.
Equipe Denis Coderre candidate Ruth Rosenfield, who said she herself has been held up at gunpoint, said she isn't impressed with the answer they got from the police station commander.
"He was more in the category of everything is rosy," Rosenfield said.
Rosenfield said prevention and social community groups can be a big help, but added she believes more policing is key.
"There's also, are we doing enough in terms of law enforcement," Rosenfield said.
Andrew Ross, mayoralty candidate in the borough for the Mélanie Joly-led Le vrai changement pour montréal, said in an email to CJAD 800 News that they believe reports of crime should be taken seriously, but it's important to note that police officers only work with resources they have been given.
"At this time they don't have the resources to do a lot of foot patrols in CDN-NDG," Ross said, adding they would increase that funding.
Last week the manager of a Subway on Sherbrooke Street West at the corner of Madison was scalded after having had a cup of hot coffee thrown at him by an enraged customer who broke down the counter door to get to him. Other merchants told CJAD 800 News about similar stories of drug users OD-ing in bathrooms, rowdy drunks, the mentally ill and the occasional knife-point robbery. Some merchants and residents as well said they believe street gangs are working the neighbourhood and threats of random violence are making the area scary, especially after dark.
Station 11 commander Pierre Rousseau told CJAD 800 News that the area on Sherbrooke east of Cavendish may have more loiterers and nocturnal activities than most others, thanks to a 24 hour dep and a bar around there, he is quick to point out that the level of crime has not spiked since last year and that street gangs are not an issue.
Image: Ville de Montreal