The Centre for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR) continued its two-day crime prevention summit on Saturday afternoon.
More than 20 minority group organizations from Montreal’s English-speaking community participated.
The summit acted as a roundtable discussion and aimed to attract more resources to meet the English-speaking minority community’s crime-prevention needs.
“How do we develop programs and services to tackle crime, to prevent crime, and how do we get access to resources,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.
“How do we work together with the city and the police and the schools, eventually, to address the needs of the youth,” he added.
Saturday’s session also focused on economic opportunities.
“In the end, it’s about combatting poverty,” said Niemi. “It’s about giving young people a chance to believe that they can get a good job if they don’t stray away.”
According to many experts, financial literacy is key to combatting poverty.
“If there is poor economics, that means there is going to be poverty,” said the Vice President of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Opportunities, Brian Smith.
“That means there is going to be less opportunities for people, that means they turn to more illicit activities, which leads to a life of crime,” he added.
But, he added, holding discussions is just part of finding solutions and that everyone has a role to play.
“Everyone has to come to the table. How are we going to change things in the next three to five years but have a firm commitment from everyone who is involved?” said Smith.
Participants from racialized and disadvantaged groups were also invited to discuss and identify concrete barriers facing their communities.
Montreal’s Chinese community says it is seeing a lot more crime in Chinatown.
“There’s a lot of crime and criminal activity taking place in Chinatown in the last three years,” said Bryant Chang, the vice president of the Montreal Chinese Association.
“Especially since the start of COVID,” he added.
Bryant hopes to see more police presence in Chinatown and said he thinks Montreal’s newly appointed Police Chief Fady Dagher will take his job seriously.
Many English-speaking minority groups also fear Bill 96 and say the province’s reformed language law will have devastating impacts on their daily lives.
“English-speaking communities and families will face many more challenges, so it’s about time to be more creative and to address bread and butter issues,” said Niemi.
St. Laurent Mayor Alan DeSousa spoke at the seminar. He said language shouldn’t act as a barrier but as a facilitator.
“We should find everything we can to make sure that barrier is removed,” said DeSousa.
“That we can reach the right people, let them know what the opportunities are so that they can make the right choices.”
SPVM Police Chief Fady Dagher addressed a crowd at the Union United Church in Little Burgundy on Friday.
He promised new recruitment strategies within the SPVM, with a focus on finding officers who can create dialogue and build relationships with community members.