By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
Amid rising crime levels in Barrhaven, a petition has been started by a local council candidate to get more police resources in the growing community.
Jay Chadha, who’s running for council in ward 3 – Barrhaven West, says while he has been canvassing in the community, he’s hearing a common concern at the doors: crime.
In 2021 Barrhaven West reported a crime spike of 20.7 per cent, more than any other ward in Ottawa. That has included increased car break ins, thefts, and other illegal acts.
Chadha started the petition after meeting Cobble Hill residents Kiranpal Singh and Ranjit Dhaliwal, who had their car stolen out of their driveway a few weeks ago. They caught it on their home security cameras, but when they called police, they were told only to report it to their insurance. No police report was ever taken and the footage was never reviewed.
“It’s unacceptable that when someone calls Ottawa Police to say they have proof of a crime being committed, they don’t even follow up or review the footage,” Chadha told the Barrhaven Independent. “Not only does it mean criminals are getting away with these acts,it also means people’s confidence in the Ottawa Police is declining. We have many really great police officers in Ottawa, but we need to ensure that when calls come in, they are dealt with.”
When Singh and Dhaliwal followed up with police, they said nothing could be done, according to Chadha. They are only entitled to a rental car for 30 days and insurance companies are facing months long delays due to the May long-weekend storms. New car shipments are also backed up three to four months due to supply chain issues.
Safety and policing is expected to be a big campaign issue this municipal election with opinions varying. Some would like to see cuts to police funding with those resources instead going to mental health supports. Others would like to see the budget increased with a return to community policing.
Chadha says the city shouldn’t take a one or the other approach.
“We need on the ground police to deal with the crime we are seeing. This isn’t about turning Ottawa into a police state; it’s strictly to try and limit the car jackings, swarmings, break ins, and other incidents we are seeing,” he said.
“We also definitely need to review how mental health-related calls are responded to. We know the current approach hasn’t always worked,” Chadha added. “We need to ensure we have trained professionals and social workers on the ground, because oftentimes, the police who are responding to these types of calls don’t have the proper training to handle vulnerable individuals.”
In just a few days, Chadha’s petition has garnered over 370 signatures of support.
Recently, Barrhaven has seen a number of community-led initiatives to address the rising crime levels. It comes after multiple swarming’s in the Marketplace area last fall, and after a teenaged boy was stabbed and left with serious injuries at Longfields Davidson Heights High School this past March.
Over the past few weeks over a dozen people have posted to Barrhaven Facebook groups about their cars either being broken into, damaged, or stolen from their driveways. The incidents have taken place in various parts of the community.
The Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre has also launched a number of youth programming initiatives in Barrhaven this summer as a way of addressing the need for more teenaged activities in the neighborhood.
“Barrhaven is a rapidly growing community. I believe everyone just wants a safe community to raise their families,” said Chadha. “We have a really great community and we want to keep it that way. We want to ensure that a few bad apples don’t ruin it for everyone else. Barrhaven is full of children and young families. We need to keep it safe for them.”
The petition can be viewed and signed here: