DEFINING SAFETY TOGETHER
Safety is a broad an overarching concept that is a part of every aspect of everyday life. To focus and frame our community safety meetings in McCauley, we are working towards defining what safety means for the community - what the boundaries of safety are and who we are working with to achieve safety in the community.
The following is what we have heard from residents in how they define safety in McCauley. These definitions will continue to evolve and be evaluated the more community safety meetings we have.
Which geographic areas in McCauley do we need to focus on the most?
McCauley community members have shared interests in addressing problem properties, vacant lots, abandoned houses and alleys as attractors of unwanted and unsafe activity. There is significant interest in focussing on issues in south central/south west McCauley (95 to 97 Street, 105 to 107A Ave; and Chinatown). Parks, green spaces and corridors (Giovanni Caboto Park, the park adjacent to Sacred Heart Church, McCauley School/EIC Park, the western border of the Commonwealth grounds, the skating rink and the LRT line bike path) are other specific areas of interest when it comes to addressing community safety.
Who are the people we are making McCauley safer for?
McCauley community members recognize that safety is ultimately for everyone and that the needs of everybody should be considered in creating a safer neighbourhood. In addition to families, children, youth, residents and visitors, community members also recognize the safety needs of vulnerable populations, seniors, newcomers. Business owners, people who work in the community and people who serve in the community such as the Police, Emergency Services and Service Agencies were also recognized as important groups to cater to.
Who should we be working with to help us make McCauley safer?
Collaboration and increased connectivity are key to building a safer McCauley. Community members recognized that there needs to be a network of collaboration between enforcement, including EPS, Bylaw and Private security. Beyond that, stakeholders also see the importance of the relationships they have with each other as residents, neighbours, community groups, businesses and service agencies. Community members have also voiced significant interest in developing closer relationships with both the municipal and provincial governments. Other partners include vulnerable and homeless persons, youth, conveners, artists and arts organizations, sports organizations, journalists and realtors.
In the future, what activities do we want to see in public spaces?
McCauley is gifted with beautiful public spaces with potential to host a wide range of activities and events. In these spaces, McCauley community members would like to see more family friendly programing, music, art and sports. There is a belief that festivals increase the vibrancy of the community. Block parties, markets and tours have been suggested as ways to add to that vibrancy. Manageable, community-driven safety initiatives such as walkabouts are an area of interest. On a day to day basis, there is also interest in seeing more regular activities like dog walking, gardening, culinary gatherings and reading in the park.
In the future, how do City departments and city services contribute to a safer McCauley?
Continuing to develop and maintain strong relationships with city departments and services is important in working towards a safer McCauley. Community members see this involving consistent engagement and consultation. To ensure safety on the streets, community members have interests in seeing more beat officers, increased surveillance and quicker response times. There are also interests from the community in seeing more attention directed to problem properties, tenants who pose safety concerns to others, poverty reduction and community programming support. Other areas of interest include landscaping, urban design, infrastructure maintenance, cleaner spaces, promotion of investment, coordinating and maximizing resources and the development of a community hub.
In the future, how do we support vulnerable populations in a safer McCauley?
Vulnerable communities who are experiencing homelessness, poverty, addiction or mental health issues need to also be considered in working towards a safer McCauley. Community members have expressed that these communities need be included in the conversation, listened to and valued as neighbours. Community members have expressed interests in advocating for vulnerable populations, and being part of a city-wide housing strategy where the focus is not just McCauley. This approach needs to be safe, affordable, supportive and to meet the basic needs of vulnerable communities. Community members have also expressed interests in overall poverty reduction through preventative measures and addressing root causes. Recovery programs and the decentralization of agencies and social services in McCauley are also areas of interest.
In the future, how do we want businesses to contribute to a safer neighbourhood?
Businesses play a key role in developing a thriving neighbourhood. Community members voiced interests in seeing businesses embracing CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design) practices. This involves property maintenance, lighting, beautification, cleanlinesses, CCTV and private security. There is also a desire for more community-minded businesses that serve the community’s needs, engage and invest in the community and build deeper relationships with community members. Community members have expressed a desire for businesses to be less tolerant of crime and to actively report criminal activities while, at the same time, being more tolerant and empathetic towards street involved individuals.
In the future, how do we want to nurture families in a safer neighbourhood?
Families are the building blocks of community building. Community members have voiced interests in ensuring families have year-round access to safe, clean public spaces like parks, events, playgrounds and walkable routes. There is also a desire for more family programming such as the Green Shack program, arts and sports; and education focussed on nutrition and literacy. Community members see a decrease in social and physical unrest as essential, and have expressed the need to look out for one another.
In a safer future, what should we hope for from our neighbours?
Our neighbours are our closest resources when it comes to neighbourhood safety. McCauley community members value strong systems of connectivity and communication. They have expressed interests in neighbours developing closer relationships, characterized by mutual care and support, collaboration, respect and tolerance. Community members value a neighbourhood where people do their part to create a safer environment by being vigilant, looking out for one another and reporting crime.
What values are most important in a safer neighbourhood?
Community values are the invisible forces that bind a community together. The community values that resonated most with community members included empathy, respect, connectedness, and inclusiveness. Community members also expressed a shared responsibility for creating a clean and safe neighbourhood.
In the future, how do social service agencies contribute to a safer neighbourhood?
Social service agencies play a key role in McCauley in providing for the needs of vulnerable communities and those in crisis. Community members expressed interests in developing closer relationships with agencies through increased community engagement. They would like agencies to have an increased presence at community meetings and events, and to view community members as partners. While community members generally support the ongoing operations of agencies, there are also interests in encouraging agencies to take a greater responsibility for their impact on the broader community, and to address property maintenance through the practice of CPTED principles. There is also some interest in exploring the broader distribution of services throughout the city.
In the future, what creates happiness in a safer McCauley?
Addressing community safety can be a daunting process and it is important to continue to frame our work with hopefulness in mind. Happiness in the future for community members involves an increased sense of safety, seeing more children playing, promoting inclusiveness and feeling involved in meaningful contributions. Happiness in the future also involves ideals and objectives such as universal housing, cohesion, community pride, cleanliness, mutual respect, growth, empowerment, support and love.