May 24, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Summer Safety.

May 24, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Summer Safety.

By Cst Dawn Neilly, OPS.

Finally, the time has come to talk about safety and security in the community now that fine weather is with us. You may have noticed the increased presence of bicycles on the street (note: street, not sidewalk, please) and pedestrians doing shopping on foot or just out for a stroll.

It’s a pretty happy looking scene. Something to consider though, is that it’s not just law-abiding residents out enjoying the day; would-be thieves are just as thrilled to be out in the nice weather for a couple of reasons.

Winter is finally over and now we’re into our other season, that is the construction season. This might be nothing more than a bit of work in the backyard, but it could mean that ladders – good for accessing upper storey windows are left lying in plain sight, or tools like hammers and crowbars, both handy for prying open locked doors or windows, are left lying around.

Would-be thieves are pretty canny when it comes to taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves, so no need to make it any easier for them. Put ladders and tools away when they’re no longer in use.

The increased number of bicycles out in the neighbourhood is an attractive proposition to would-be thieves. “I’ll only be gone a few minutes,” is no guarantee your bike won’t be stolen. Get a good lock and use it whenever you’re away from your bicycle even if it’s for a few minutes.

It’s also a good idea to engrave an identifying number, like your driver’s licence number, on your bicycle in case it is stolen and later recovered by police who can then get it back to you.

You can borrow an engraver for free from the Community Police Centre, located at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St. West. Call 613-236-1222, ext. 5870 or 5871 to make sure we’re open.

Happy summer!

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April 12, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Rules of the road apply to all

April 12, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Rules of the road apply to all.

By Cst. Dawn Neilly, O.P.S.

I hope that by the time this edition hits the streets spring will have truly arrived and we can safely put away the shovels and snow blowers for another year. Now it’s time to make the most of the warmer weather and, for many, that means getting out the bicycle for exercise, recreation or transportation.

It’s been a long winter, so I hope the excitement of being once again on the open road, so to speak, won’t keep you from thinking about the rules of the road. Helpful hint: they’re the same rules that you use when driving. Red lights and stop signs are still in effect even if you’re on a bike. Your bicycle may not get up to speeds that will get you stopped for stunt driving but keep in mind that you can still present a grave danger to much slower pedestrians. Be extra careful at crosswalks and avoid the sidewalks.

Staying off the sidewalks means you’re sharing the road with vehicles that far outweigh you, so make sure you’re visible: front and rear lights, reflective tape on your forks, light coloured or reflective clothing. You can’t make yourself too visible. A helmet is a good idea, too, even if you’re over eighteen and not obliged to wear one.

Some of you may be bicycle-riding parents who are keen to have your kids follow in your tire tracks. Of course! Riding a bike is great exercise and a great way to enjoy the outdoors. But kids aren’t born knowing the rules of the road or the best ways to stay safe. In large part, it’s up to you, the parents, to make sure your kids learn to ride safely. It’s a case of “child see, child do” so if you ride your bike right, chances are your child will, too.

Make the most of the fine weather and ride safe!

March 15, 2018: The End of Door to Door Sales?; New legislation fights high pressure sales tactics.

March 15, 2018: The End of Door to Door Sales?;
New legislation fights high pressure sales tactics.

By Security Committee, Hintonburg Community Association.

The salespeople were very aggressive and the number of complaints we heard skyrocketed. Police were also being called because the salespeople would not take “No” for an answer and would not leave.

Have you ever had a salesperson come to the door that you could not get rid of? Did you make the mistake of opening the screen door and then could not get it closed, or allowed the person just inside the door on a cold day and then could not get the person out.

Have you ever had to call police because the salesperson would not leave or was aggressive and demeaning if you would not agree to sign a contract? These are all experiences people in Kitchissippi and within Ottawa have experienced over at least the last 7 years with aggressive door to door sales.

As of March 1 this year, the province banned door-to-door sales of certain items: air cleaners, air conditioners, air purifiers, duct cleaning services, furnaces, water filters, water heaters, water purifiers, water softeners, water treatment devices, and bundles of these goods and services.

Another key part of the legislation is that businesses will only be able to sign a contract in the person’s home if the person contacted the business ahead of time and invited them to their home to purchase the service. Businesses must document how the contact was made and any contracts that do not follow these rules will be considered void, and resident will be able to keep the goods and services with no obligations.

For more information see: tinyurl.com/ya3fakr .
( http://www.ontario.ca/page/door-door-sales-and-home-service-contracts )

How did this legislation come about? The summer and fall of 2011 saw a growing increase, both in this area and across the City, in door-to-door salespeople with contracts for rental water heaters and furnaces.

The salespeople were very aggressive and the number of complaints we heard skyrocketed. Police were also being called because the salespeople would not take “No” for an answer and would not leave.

The Hintonburg Community Association (HCA) was alerting residents about the issue and recommendations from police on how to deal with concerns. We collected impact statements and heard devastating stories of some seniors who signed contracts, had their furnace or water heater removed within a day and ended up with a very expensive rental contract. We heard of abusive and offensive comments made to resident by these salespeople.We forwarded the impact statements to the police, MPP Yasir Naqvi and the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

In 2012 Cst. Andrew Milton, Community Police Officer at the time, contacted the head office of the company that was causing the concerns here. He asked them for a meeting and when they heard that a representative from MPP Naqvi’s office would also be attending they sent a senior executive from the U.S.

The representative disavowed that the high pressure tactics we were experiencing were company policy. They said they would speak to the local sales reps and they invited Cst Milton to speak to their trainees to explain the law to them. As a result of the meeting the complaints in this area stopped for a few years, however it was clear from other media reports that the problems had just moved to other areas.

This recent legislation is very welcome. Loopholes will certainly be found but hopefully the province will move quickly to plug those as well.

March 15, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Springtime challenges.

March 15, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Springtime challenges.

By Dawn Neilly, OPS.

February is long gone and March is showing signs of spring. Barring any unexpected weather events, roads are clear, days are longer and there’s a real incentive to come out of hibernation and be more active.

Maybe you’ve resumed activities that were put on hold because of winter, like jogging, bicycle riding or just walking more. Or maybe, if you’re driving, you’re inclined to put your foot down a bit harder on the gas pedal to take advantage of those clear roads. My advice: don’t do it. Resist the temptation.

Some of you may know that every month the Ottawa Police Service traffic enforcement officers focus on a specific infraction or two, not just to write tickets, but to draw attention to the need for safer driving habits, including not speeding.

The selected infractions are posted at the beginning of every month and this information is available on the Ottawa Police web site at http://ottawapolice.ca or you can sign up to receive a Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin which includes this information and more about staying safe. Just send an email to wellingtoncpc@gmail.com asking to be added to the list.

The approach of spring is certainly reason to celebrate, but if the improving weather isn’t enough of a reason to hold a party, I see that we’re just about to hit St. Patrick’s Day, a long-standing invitation to party hearty.

Go ahead. Enjoy yourself. Just don’t spoil the party by drinking and driving, a potentially deadly combination. Do yourself and your friends and colleagues a favour by offering to be a designated driver. Drink close to home. Use public transit. Anything but drinking and driving.

Enjoy the spring. Have a happy, fun St. Patrick’s Day and a great March 18!
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Photo Caption: Cst Neilly appreciates a celebration and suggests moderation and caution to ensure a safe, happy party with a cheerful day after. Photo by T. Hairbac.

February 15, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Safety on the Ice.

February 15, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Safety on the Ice.

Ottawans are very lucky to live near waterways that contribute greatly to our enjoyment of the outdoors. From the Rideau Canal running through the centre of the city, to the great Ottawa River, to any number of nearby lakes, big and small, there’s plenty of water around for us to enjoy, even in winter when it freezes over.

Then it’s time for skating, ice fishing (my favourite!), snowmobiling and maybe just the feeling of being able to walk on water. These are all great ways to make the most of winter as long as we don’t forget that the ice is one layer away from really, really cold water.

It’s easy to think that as long as there’s ice, we’re protected from the freezing winter water. But not all ice is safe. Here are a few guidelines for judging the safety of ice thickness:

  • 15 cm for walking or skating alone,
  • 20 cm for skating parties or games,
  • 25 cm for snowmobiles,
  • 35 cm for fishing huts.

If it’s difficult to measure the thickness of the ice, colour can also be a good clue to ice safety. Clear blue ice is usually the strongest, white opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Grey ice is unsafe. The greyness indicates the presence of water.

Before venturing onto the ice, check the Lifesaving Society’s ( http://www.lifesavingsociety.com ) guidelines for staying safe, and review guidelines by the Canadian Red Cross ( http://www.redcross.ca ) on what to do if you get into trouble on the ice. When in doubt, be prudent and just stay off the ice.

This information about ice safety can be found on the Ottawa Police web site at http://www.ottawapolice.ca . Pay the site a visit for information about all kinds of safety issues that could save a life.

 

January 18, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Winter Readiness.

January 18, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Winter Readiness.

By Cst. Dawn Neilly.

Even if you normally drive and think you’re protected from the elements, equip your vehicle for the possibility of an accident or a breakdown that could leave you exposed to the cold.

Happy New Year! I hope 2018 has started off on the right foot for everyone and that it will be a healthy, happy time for all. Let’s talk about some tips to help that happen.

We all know that winter has to start sometime, but I think most of us were somewhat surprised by the unusual deep freeze in December. Temperatures in the minus 20’s can be real killers if we’re not prepared for them. And the likelihood of more for the rest of January and into February is a strong possibility.

If you’re a walker and/or a transit user, bundle up! Don’t assume that your destination can be reached without difficulty. The cold has lots of ways to make us miserable (think: waiting for a bus that’s late – it happens!), so always assume the potential for trouble is there. Even if you normally drive and think you’re protected from the elements, equip your vehicle for the possibility of an accident or a breakdown that could leave you exposed to the cold.

Speaking of driving, ‘tis the season to adapt your habits to cope with dangerous road conditions, which could be anything from heavy snowfall to freezing rain. Don’t drive so fast that you can’t stop easily and safely if the situation warrants.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be a Good Samaritan, winter is the season with the potential for opportunities to find out. Keep an eye out for anyone who might not be properly dressed or who is showing signs of frostbite. Your help could be anything from a word of warning to practical assistance to whatever extent is possible: an offer of a ride? A pair of mittens or a hat? If you see someone who needs assistance but you’re reluctant to approach, don’t hesitate to call the Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222 .

Bottom line: don’t take the weather for granted in a season when it can go to extremes. Stay warm and have a safe winter!
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Photo Caption: Constable Dawn Neilly Photo by T. Hairbach.