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Chinatown residents share crime and safety concerns with police during Mid-Autumn Festival

In a show of unity, Chinatown residents and Montreal police celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival Friday morning at Sun Yat-Sen Park.

Community leaders handed out traditional mooncakes to mark the Chinese cultural event, and residents voiced their concerns about a recent wave of crime and disorder in the historic neighbourhood.

"Today, we want to reassure the general public and also the merchants, the workers, and the residents of Chinatown that Chinatown is safer than it was two months ago," said Bryant Chang, Vice-President of the Chinese Association of Montreal.

Residents have been complaining about a rise in open drug use, harassment, and violent crime since the opening of an overnight shelter in the nearby Guy-Favreau Complex.

Police appear to have made some progress, but there is still plenty of work to do, and residents say the same problems persist in the evenings and overnight.

"It's baby steps," said Phil Chu, who lives in the area. "Like anything in life, progress is in baby steps and we acknowledge that. As long as it's progression toward the right direction, we're happy with that."

Montreal police were on hand to hear the public's concerns and connect with the community.

"It's a way to be there and it's easy for them to talk to us," said Insp. Simon Durocher, responsible for Section 21 of the Montreal Police Department, which includes the Chinatown district.

His officers have been asked to step up patrols in the area.

"It's easy to take René Lévesque when you are coming from the west to the east. But, come back to Chinatown," Durocher said. "But, take five minutes if you can to patrol the area. I know we are doing it, but I’m happy they are seeing it."

Starting in mid-October, two dedicated foot-patrol officers will also be assigned to Chinatown, adding to the police presence. Then, at the end of October, the shelter is scheduled to close.

"We're waiting anxiously to hear where the next shelter is," Chang said. "The mayor had made a comment earlier that there will be another one close by, she never indicated where, but we would like to find out." Top Stories

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