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New Rideau Centre police hub to open by June 3

The new Ottawa police hub in the Rideau Centre will open in early June, as the service launches a new plan intended to improve safety for residents, tourists and businesses in the tourist area.

The Ottawa Police Service announced the launch of the ‘Community Outreach Response and Enforcement Strategy’ (CORE) on Tuesday.

“CORE is an action plan focused on reducing crime in specific areas of Ottawa by dealing with the root issues,” police said in a statement.

“In these beginning stages, CORE will focus on enhancing public safety in the ByWard Market and Rideau Street area.”

The new CORE strategy includes opening a Neighbourhood Operations Centre in the Rideau Centre, officers targeting “hot spots of high crime concentration” and focused enforcement “identifying high-harm offenders,” according to police.

“The CORE Strategy represents a significant step forward in our commitment to community safety,” Chief Eric Stubbs said. “By leveraging data-driven decision-making and fostering strong partnerships, we can better understand the root causes of crime and implement sustainable solutions.”

The new Neighbourhood Operations Centre (NOC) on the first floor of the Rideau Centre along Rideau Street will open by Monday, June 3.

“The NOC will act as a vital coordination hub to enhance police presence and provide a collaborative space to work with our local partners,” police said.

Ottawa police have said the Rideau Centre hub will not be open to the public when it first opens. The Neighbourhood Resources Team and Community Police will use the centre to coordinate operations, hold briefings and host community meetings.

A release from Ottawa police outlined plans for the focused efforts in the Rideau Street and ByWard Market area, saying police will be “increasing visible police presence” in high-priority areas.

“The fact of the matter is that a small number of repeat offenders are responsible for a significant portion of the criminal activity downtown,” police said. “Some are involved in serious offences, including violent assaults, robberies, and trafficking dangerous substances such as fentanyl,” police said.

“Using OPS Neighbourhood Resource Teams (NRTs), the CORE strategy concentrates police efforts on addressing the actions of these individuals to reduce their impact on community residents, businesses, and visitors.”

A report for the Ottawa Police Services Board shows hot spots in the ByWard Market and Rideau Street area based on highest Crime Severity Index of primary offences between Feb. 19 and March 17, 2024. (Ottawa Police Services Board/report)

Police say the new strategy has been developed through “extensive consultation with local stakeholders and partners,” adding the goal is to seek “long-term solutions to improve safety downtown.

Ottawa police will receive $48 million from the Ontario government over three years to address community and public safety. The funding will cover an increase in uniformed police officers in the ByWard Market and on the transit system, along with alternative mental health supports. Staff say the Community Outreach Response and Engagement Strategy is a central element of the plan.

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