At a community meeting about temporary shelters held in March, residents raised community safety and crime related concerns – such as vandalism, break-ins, property theft, and aggressive behaviour – in and around the Stinson neighbourhood. This followed similar reports my office had received and already reported to Hamilton Police Services (HPS).
I offered to organize a community safety meeting to bring together residents and HPS to address the safety and crime related issues impacting the neighbourhood. On May 8th, more than 60 residents joined us in the hybrid format.
As a follow up, representatives from HPS committed to engaging with #OurWard3 residents through local community groups, newspapers, and through updates to my office that we will share in our e-newsletter and on social media. They echoed the importance of reporting incidents to the HPS anytime you experience an incident of concern, as this helps inform service response alignment and resource allocation.
Some tangible steps residents can take as it relates to property theft:
- Register your bicycles on the bike registryat https://hamiltonpolice.on.ca/how-to/register-my-bike
- Consider a property assessment from a crime prevention through environmental design perspective.
- For more tips, visit: https://hamiltonpolice.on.ca/prevention/protecting-yourself-and-your-property
Residents asked if there was a correlation between homelessness and some of the incidents they were finding. HPS said that there have been an increase in break-ins and mischief to property from 5 to 47 in the neighbourhood over the span of a year. When asked, HPS cautioned against stigmatizing our unhoused neighbours as the sole reason for these specific safety concerns and agreed that upstream supports to address addictions and mental health were key to reducing criminal activity.
I have committed to hosting more community safety meetings with HPS in neighbourhoods across the ward. We are working to get the video from the meeting and summary of the Q&A up on our website: nrinder.ca. We can also provide printed versions of the Q&A to any residents who don’t have internet access. Please call us at 905-546-2107 to request this.
As your Councillor, my role is to facilitate these meetings, to ensure that residents are heard and that clear next steps are agreed upon. Ultimately, individual Councillors, and Council as a whole, cannot dictate operational procedures of HPS. What we can do is join our neighbours in advocating for consistency in service, proactive prevention, and ensuring responsiveness to the incidents occurring in our communities.