As firearm discharges multiply on the ground, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) wishes to assure the population that it is present on the ground and that it is taking action.
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“We want people to know that we are there and that we are in solidarity with the situation they are experiencing,” said Sylvie Roy, the interim head of the SPVM.
On Wednesday, its personnel deployed a mobile command post in the Rivière-des-Prairies district, as well as its cavalry, in order to be clearly visible. In the afternoon, police went door to door with citizens.
“We are here to reassure the residents of the area,” said Ms. Roy, who ensures that the fight against armed violence remains a “priority”.
In Rivière-des-Prairies, since January, the commander of neighborhood station (PDQ) 45 has identified nine events related to discharges of firearms. A trend that would be on the rise, while in 2021, 18 had been listed on its territory.
The Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, was also present with Alain Vaillancourt, head of public security on the City's executive committee, to show her support for the police.
“The SPVM is everywhere, it is involved in all neighborhoods and it adapts to changing crime,” said Ms. Plante.
She also enthused about the homicide solve rate, which she says is currently at 92%.
“The work on the ground is being done, and there are concrete results. We will continue, all the partners, to work together to find solutions.
In its 2021 annual report, the SPVM recorded 144 discharges of firearms during the year, or one every two and a half days. A marked increase when there were only 71 in 2020.
Ms. Roy also revealed that the investigations were progressing “well” at the SPVM and that results could be announced by the fall.
A visibility operation
Director of DOD basketball and one of the co-founders of the Pozé Coalition, a group set up to fight against armed violence, Beverley Jacques believes that such door-to-door activities can bear fruit, under certain conditions.
“The challenge is that immigrant communities do not trust the SPVM too much. It makes it a bit difficult to have a collaboration. What helps above all is to have representativeness within the police force. It inspires more confidence,” he explained.
“It can have effects on the feeling of security. If people are worried, it can help them to feel that the police are there. But most people are much more at risk of being the victim of other incidents in life, ”said Ted Rutland, professor at Concordia University and specialist in public safety issues.
He reminds us that other things can be done to prevent violence in all its forms
"We want the police to be everywhere to arrest everyone, but that will not reduce the violence in the long term," he said.
In his view, community groups that work in prevention, such as the Pozé Coalition, which he gives as an example, would also need more funding in order to carry out their mission.