Recent vandalism and public drinking incidents unnerve St. Anne’s residents
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Several recent incidents of vandalism and public drinking along Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s Lamarche Street prompted resident Regina Parkinson to complain about the situation at the Monday council meeting. Mayor Paola Hawa and city councillors encouraged residents to keep calling 911 to report all incidents and to file police reports online via the Station 1 website.
Ste. Anne de Bellevue resident Regina Parkinson received an unexpected surprise on June 24, the evening of Québec’s Fête Nationale – an unknown perpetrator threw a rock at her vehicle that was parked in the driveway of her Lamarche Street home, completely shattering the rear window.
The incident, along with several other recent reports of vandalism and public drinking involving young people, has also shattered Parkinson’s and her neighbour’s sense of security in their tight-knit community close to Ste. Anne’s downtown village area.
Parkinson appealed to Mayor Paola Hawa and asked what the city and residents can do to stop the situation from worsening during question period at the Monday evening council meeting, July 14.
“My car was parked in my driveway and a big rock was thrown through the back window,” Parkinson told council. “It cost me $900 to have it repaired. In all the years I’ve been driving, I’ve never filed a claim and this breaks my heart.”
Parkinson, who is 88 years old, told council that other notable incidents have included empty beer bottles being thrown onto lawns or smashed on the street, and a homeowner who had the side of his house splattered with eggs. She added that a small group of teens have been seen regularly carrying unconcealed, open beer bottles who at times have been confrontational with residents.
“Right now they walk around with a bottle of beer in their hand,” said Parkinson. “But if a cop would be there, they wouldn’t do such a thing. Am I right?” Hawa and the five sitting councillors agreed. District 2 Councillor Ryan Young who represents Parkinson’s area was absent.
Unfortunately, the non-emergency nature of the incidents means that police are not dispatched when calls are made to 911, according to Parkinson. Callers are told to contact the Station 1 police detachment in Kirkland where they are told to fill out an incident report at the station.
The issue is a major safety and security concern for Parkinson, who asked council, “What can be done? “I’m always afraid they’re going to throw something through my windows because I’m right on the corner.”
“It’s unfortunately an eternal problem in Ste. Anne’s,” replied Hawa. “We have municipal patrols as we call them now. We have them out there. The police know, especially on Thursday nights for example, to increase surveillance in the area. And still kids find a way to cause havoc.
“Apart from being there 24 hours a day or watching and knowing exactly what they’re going to do, do you have a solution because I’m at a loss for words,” said Hawa. She added the city just renewed their public security contract for a three-year term and that Station 1 Commander Richard Thouin would be notified of the situation and asked to provide additional patrols.
Hawa reiterated it’s important for residents to keep calling 911 to report incidents of vandalism and public drinking even if police are not dispatched to the scene. While she encouraged residents to consider filing reports online via the Station 1 website, Hawa acknowledged it’s a difficult situation to deal with.
Thouin told Your Local Journal all incidents of vandalism causing property damage are felonies and should be immediately reported to 911 and police will be sent to the scene to complete a report.
“The first thing to do is to report the incident so that we know about it and can provide special attention to the area,” said Thouin. “If there’s a break-in or damage done to vehicles, please call 911 and we’ll send a car to take a report. And it’s important for people to report any suspicious activity. If we don’t know, we can’t do anything about it.”
“We keep saying it over and over again, call 911,” said Hawa. “It’s really unfortunate but it’s the only avenue we have. Commander Thouin understands the situation and he relies more and more on citizens to be the eyes and ears of the community.”
Suspicious activity can be reported by contacting the Station 1 precinct at (514) 280-0101 or by filing an online police report at http://www.spvm. qc.ca/en/Pages/Report-an-event/Online-police-report.