Community partnerships key to Montreal North, say police
Published Friday, June 19, 2009 8:47PM EDT
Police and community groups in Montreal North say they're stepping up their work together to stem violent outbursts in the neighbourhood.
The group Caf� Jeunesse Muticulturel is offering up full-time intervention workers to deal with the latest explosion of violence in the neighbourhood.
The workers would be available around the clock to head off rioting of the type that broke out on Tuesday evening when youths set fires, ransacked businesses and pelted police with rocks and bottles.
Nine people were charged in the violence, which brought back memories of similar mayhem last August 8 following the police shooting of teenager Fredy Villanueva.
Caf� Jeunesse and police both agree that the violence on Tuesday would have been worse had intervention workers not persuaded many youths to leave the scene before things escalated.
Commander lauds group
Cmdr. Roger Belair of police station 39 said the decision to deploy the workers full-time is part of a longstanding strategy to improve relations with young people in the borough.
"They (the workers) can go before us in the park and talk to the youths and say 'hey, stay calm,' " Belair told CTV News on Friday.
"We have to use this organization to help us. We don't want to make an intervention in the park every time."
Cops do their part
Station 39 stays it had implemented its own strategy well before Tuesday's violence. Officers have stepped up foot and cycling patrols and the station hired a full-time person last winter to act as a liaison with the community.
The director of Caf� Jeunesse, Williamson Lamarre, says his group supports the police effort, saying that officers are working hard to build bridges.