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Meeting to address safety in St. Raymond
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 25 mai 2011

A St. Raymond man who first spoke out about safety in his neighbourhood at a borough council meeting in March has been pursuing the issue ever since, and has now organized a meeting between residents and borough councillor Peter McQueen.

The meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wed. May 25, at the Saint-Raymond Community Centre.

“The residents and merchants are relieved that we’re having the meeting. They’re glad that it’s happening - they’ve been in a state where nothing’s happened in such a long time,” Steve Cassin said. The problems plaguing the area include robberies, graffiti, garbage, broken windows, and also drug activity, he explained.

Cassin first began to speak out when the grocery store that’s been in his family for nearly 30 years was robbed three times in one year.

He was disappointed by the police response time - over 20 minutes to get to the scene each time - and by the way that they pursued the case.

Other stores in the area were hit as well, which made for six robberies in the span of one year. The cases began to get media coverage, and, as a result, people started paying attention, Cassin said.

He has been meeting with the police and McQueen, and working with Prévention NDG and Tandem, the crime prevention program it runs. He’s also been talking to his neighbours during door-to-door visits.

Many residents said that they like the area, but feel like it’s going downhill.

“It feels neglected, like nobody’s paying attention,” he said.

Cassin noted that he has plans to continue his work after the meeting. He’s currently setting up a system to communicate with area merchants on a regular basis about the problems they’ve experienced.

He would report his findings back to Prévention NDG, which would help set up meetings with the people responsible for improving the situation.

“It gives you the sense that somebody else is listening, and somebody cares, because when you’re one person and no one is listening, it takes its toll,” Cassin explained.

The outcome depends on what happens at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We’re hoping for a good turnout. If no one shows up, it will become a dead issue,” he warned.

[ Anja Karadeglija ]





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