Île Bizard residents concerned about drugs, poor lighting and vandalism

STEPHANIE O’HANLEY

Station 3 Community Relations Officer Julie Dupré (left) and Cmdr. Jacques Bisson speak with Île Bizzard Closse Street resident Anouk Bienvenu (right) about residents’ safety and security concerns.

On Wednesday Your Local Journal accompanied Station 3 Commander Jacques Bisson and Community Relations Officer Julie Dupré as they asked Closse Street and Chèvremont Boulevard residents questions about their safety concerns.

“We want to make sure that they know we’re concerned, we’re available,” said Cmdr. Bisson, whose police station serves Pierrefonds, Roxboro, Île Bizard and Ste. Geneviève. “They can speak to us, they can give us some information if they wish.” All the residents’ police spoke with said they did not fear talking to the authorities.

As for being a recent crime victim, one man said he had items taken from his car a few years ago while another man mentioned a crime that affected his wife – someone tried to grab her phone when she was out walking. No one reported being afraid of having an accident – everyone said they drove carefully and respected the rules of the road.

When asked about road and traffic safety a number of residents complained police weren’t ticketing drivers when they fail to respect stop signs or go through red lights, and that some drivers were speeding. One woman asked that police increase their presence in school zones when the students get out. Several residents said while they see Public Security cars driving by, they don’t see police often and they’d like police to be more visible in their neighbourhood.

While Closse and Chèvremont are close on the map, residents reported slightly different concerns. Police reached four Closse Street residents at their homes and another who was walking in the neighbourhood. While residents said they either had no concerns about park safety or did not frequent local parks, a few older women said they visited parks only with their walking group.

One woman said a wooded area behind her house that was once Cherrier Street has no lighting whatsoever. She said people using the woods were likely responsible for graffiti on residents’ sheds and youth were doing drugs in the woods – another neighbour said she could smell drugs coming from the area. When one woman suggested a street lamp as a solution, Bisson said lighting was not in his control and is the borough’s responsibility.

Several townhouse residents mentioned activities happening late at night at a parking lot shared by residents and noise in the parking lot late at night in the summer. One woman said until residents lobbied to have concrete blocks cut access to the parking lot, people used it as a shortcut to get to the bus. The same woman said there needed to be better lighting in the parking lot.

One man said he’s complained time and again about the parking lot being used late at night by drug dealers, something Cmdr. Bisson said is not always easy to resolve. Bisson said police can only intervene if the people are there and the smell of drugs can be detected. Of the two Chèvremont Boulevard Residents police spoke with, both expressed concerns about a lack of lighting in the area, especially for pedestrians. One man said he felt having intersections without lights is dangerous.

The door-to-door operation was held as part of a series of public information sessions held by the SPVM in the West Island to get a greater understanding of area residents’ concerns and to help establish their Action Plan for 2015.

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