November 29, 2018: Cst Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Light up the night for safety.

November 29, 2018: Cst Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Light up the night for safety.

By Cst. Dawn Neilly, OPS.

It looks like we’re well and truly into the dark season, otherwise known as winter. The long, dark winter nights are wonderful for showing off your Christmas lights but they’re also a great opportunity for would-be thieves to go about their activities without being noticed. Shining a light into the dark is a good way to thwart someone planning to break into your car or home. If you haven’t done so already, consider installing lights over your front and back doors and make sure they get turned on. If you prefer, make them motion-sensitive lights. If you have a garage and a vehicle, put the vehicle when it’s not in use in the garage and lock the garage door. A light over the garage door can’t hurt either.

In addition to the security of your property, once the dark days arrive, you need to think carefully about your personal safety, especially as a pedestrian or cyclist and especially during early morning and late afternoon rush hours.

By law, bicycles need to have a white light in front and a red light in back, and white reflective tape on the front forks and red on the back forks. But don’t stop there. You are at least as important as your bike, so get some reflective clothing and tape on yourself. You can’t be too visible.

Pedestrians, don’t hesitate to emulate your cycling neighbours. Lights and reflective gear for yourself and the dog you might be walking could be a lifesaver. Make it a light, bright, safe winter.

September 27, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Meet the Central West CPO.

September 27, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Meet the Central West CPO.

By Cst. Dawn Neilly.

Now that we’ve hopefully got the kids safely off to school, I thought I’d take the opportunity with this issue to explain a little bit about my role as a Community Police Officer (CPO) as most of you will only know me through this paper.

You may never have to call 911 to ask for the services of a police officer – that’s good! – but it doesn’t hurt to know that there’s an officer available to help with non-emergency issues that might crop up from time to time. And that would be me, Cst. Dawn Neilly, if you live in the area served by this paper.

My responsibility extends from Old train tracks at Somerset Bridge to Churchill Avenue and from the Ottawa River to Carling Avenue plus a bump on the other side of Carling around the Merivale and Caldwell area.

Central West, as it’s called, is a high-density area with the full range of diversity and socio-economic levels represented. My job requires me to engage with all residents as needed. This includes attending community events to reach out to kids and their parents; meetings with community safety groups; working with various organizations/community partners, such as the councillor’s office, the food bank, community health centres, and so on, to resolve ongoing community issues that require police oversight, such as problem addresses, drugs and theft.

In addition to dealing with systemic problems in the community as a whole, I am available to help with issues involving individuals such as in ongoing neighbour disputes. The key word here is “ongoing”. As a CPO, I keep regular hours from Monday to Friday, working out of the Hintonburg Community Centre, carrying out tasks as outlined above, so I am not in the best position to respond to incidents when they happen, that should be a call to the Ottawa Police for a patrol officer to attend. If needed, I can follow up to help mediate the dispute.

Working with a group of dedicated volunteers, I can reach out to the community to promote safety and security at home and in the community. My contact with the community at large is through this regular Newswest spot and an online Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin. You can sign up to receive this by emailing to subscribe. And you’re always welcome to visit our office to discuss a specific situation, or give me a call at 613-236-1222, ext. 5871. See you around.

Photo Caption: Cst Dawn Neilly at a Parkdale Park Summer celebration. Along with regular police duties, Cst Neilly often attends community events in neighbourhoods throughout her working area. Photo by T. Hairbach.

August 30, 2018: Cst Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Back to school.

August 30, 2018: Cst Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Back to school.

By Cst. Dawn Neilly, OPS.

One of my favourite topics throughout the year is kids. They’re vulnerable for all kinds of reasons. And with school starting in a few days, they’re my focus again – for all kinds of reasons.
Let’s start with kids outside. They’ll be going back and forth from home to school and playing outside and not necessarily watching where they’re going. Fast traffic and kids don’t mix well. Parents, you can teach your kids how to be careful when they’re out but the onus has to be on drivers to slow down and be ready for a quick stop, particularly arounds schools.
On the other hand, there is occasionally the driver who drives much more slowly than necessary looking for an opportunity to entice a child into their vehicle. While the likelihood of this happening is low, the possibility exists and it’s a good idea for kids to learn early on that getting into a vehicle with a stranger is an absolute no-no.
Let’s move to kids on the inside. Back to school can be an exciting time for kids who are thrilled to be starting a new grade. Most are happy to be back with their friends and to be involved in favourite school activities or starting new ones. It’s not such a happy situation, though, if a boy or girl is the target of a bully. Children may be reluctant to speak up if they feel threatened or picked on, so it’s up to parents and teachers to keep a close eye on those in their charge for signs that something is wrong.
And in our brave new world, we have to cope with ever-present technology – its advantages and disadvantages. It’s glitzy, it’s fast and begs us to act without considering the consequences. Keep track of your kids’ internet usage. If you want information on how to manage the combination of kids and technology, come see us at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington West. Or, Google it! That’s what your kids would do.
I hope the coming school year is a safe one for everyone!

[Ed: Did you know your community police officer also has a mailing list for sharing the latest neighbourhood watch info? Here is a recent email of interest;

With respect to safety for kids starting school, a reader requested clarification for driver responsibility when passing through an intersection with crossing guards present. The following is from the Ottawa Safety Council web site.
Crossing Guard Rules:
New in January 2016, drivers are not allowed to pass ANYWHERE through a crosswalk if there are children and/or a Crossing Guard in the crosswalk. This applies even if you the pedestrians have cleared the lane that you would like to proceed/turn through and to all crosswalks where a Crossing Guard is present, regardless of whether the roadway is two or four lanes. The only time this rule doesn’t apply is if the crosswalk itself is divided with a median (i.e., the median juts out into the crosswalk providing pedestrians a safe place to stop and observe if it is safe to proceed).

Drivers who break this rule could face a fine of up $500 and will lose 3 demerit points.

School Zone Speed Rules:
Often, speed limits on roadways are reduced during the morning and afternoon bell times in school zones. Speeding in school zones costs you more than speeding in other places. Fines are increased if you are caught speeding in a school zone by up to 60%. Not to mention that it will cost you 3 demerit points if you are caught going 20 km over the speed limit (i.e., 60km in a 40km school zone will cost you $180 and 3 demerit points).


July 26, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Summertime Safety Tips.

July 26, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Summertime Safety Tips.

By Dawn Neilly, OPS.

Property theft. Break and enters. Theft from vehicles. Summer in the city. That would be this summer and the city is Ottawa.

Law-abiding citizens are not the only ones out and about taking advantage of the fine weather. While you’re pushing the baby in her carriage, warming a bench with a good book in hand, keeping a coffee business thriving, or on your way to work or yoga, someone else is stealing a bicycle from your porch, cleaning the jewelry out of your bureau drawer or taking the GPS out of your car.

Summer should be a time for relaxing and recharging your batteries, not making a police report or filling out an insurance claim.

What describes the would-be thief? Desperate, determined, opportunistic, inventive. Anything that isn’t locked up or out of sight is fair game to someone who plays by different rules.

You forgot to put your ladder away? Excellent access to an upper storey open window. Have you considered having a home security inspection done? In less than an hour you can learn a few good tips that will make your home less attractive to someone who wants to break in. Give me a call at 613-236-1222 ext. 5871 to set that up.

Our vehicles often seem to function like a home away from home. It’s so easy to leave stuff in the car rather than cart it in and out, in and out. If that’s your habit, then you may be a prime target for the would-be thief looking for anything with some kind of resale value, CD’s, GPS’s for example.

Best practice? Everything out of sight or completely removed and your vehicle locked up. In case that’s not enough, you can get an “All Valuables Removed” card to place in your car window. Stop in at 1064 Wellington (Hintonburg Community Centre) for one or print your own from the Ottawa Police web site ( ).

If you see any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood you can report it online at .

You might be on vacation but the would-be thief is not. Protecting your property is a year-round activity. Have a crime-free summer!

June 28, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Summertime fun time.

June 28, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Summertime fun time.

By Cst Dawn Neilly, OPS.

It’s “summertime and the livin’ is easy” as the song has it. I hope that’s the case for everyone. Who doesn’t appreciate the chance to enjoy the good weather – by the pool, in the park, at the beach…?

Kids, of course, are out of school with the whole summer to take advantage of the outdoors, all day, every day. This is the season to pay extra special attention when you’re on your bike or driving. There are definitely more pedestrians and bike riders, including young, energetic ones, out and about. Be especially vigilant at crosswalks and wherever new, inexperienced bike riders might be found.

Pools and beaches provide their own hazards. Rule of thumb: never take your eyes off your kids when they’re in the water, not even for a second. And if your kids are going to spend any time at all near water, it would be a good idea if they knew how to swim. Keep flotation devices handy and life jackets are mandatory in a boat. Check out the Ottawa Police web site or the Canadian Red Cross web site for more information on water safety tips and best practices. It could save a life.

Livin’ easy in the summertime might also include cruising around town with the car windows open or the top down to make the most of the summer air. The temptation to leave everything opened up after you’ve parked can be hard to resist but it’s worthwhile taking the extra time to lock it all up. City-wide, thefts from vehicles top the crime list. This doesn’t mean you can forget about break and enters, also a favourite. If you’re doing repairs to your house, don’t forget to put the ladder and tools away when they’re not in use.

Whatever your plans for the summer, play it safe!

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!

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: .
( )

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 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 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!
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 ( ) guidelines for staying safe, and review guidelines by the Canadian Red Cross ( ) 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 . 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!
Photo Caption: Constable Dawn Neilly Photo by T. Hairbach.

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