El-Chantiry: Ward 5 ‘safest in the city’

WEST CARLETON – While West Carleton crime numbers jumped by 33 per cent from 2017 to 2018 (80 more crimes reported in 2018), Coun. Eli El-Chantiry says if you take a closer look at all the stats, you will see Ward 5 “is still the safest ward in the city.”

El-Chantiry spoke with West Carleton Online on June 21 to talk about crime in Ward 5, the day after Ottawa Police Service (OPS) released its annual report.

“I’m not looking at spin,” he said. “I’m looking at actual. What actually took place. I’m one of the few councillors who will read every part of this report.”

El-Chantiry was the chair of the OPS board for several years before this term of office.

In 2018, there were 319 crimes reported in Ward 5 – up from 239 in 2017.

“The increased call for services, we’ve seen this for some time,” El-Chantiry said. “We have really improved the ease of reporting crimes over the years. A single event can be reported from multiple sources. Mostly speeding, aggressive and distracted driving. We don’t have what you would call organized crime. When you say 33 per cent, you have to be cautious. The percentage itself is not an accurate number. Everything will look higher when you start with low numbers – that works both ways.”

If the number is at one, and rises by one, that’s a 100 per cent increase.

“West Carleton-March is the safest ward in the city with the fewest crimes,” El-Chantiry said. “We’ve taken that trophy for several years.”

Violent crime is down two per cent in Ward 5 – 51 reports down to 50 (‘crimes against the person’) in 2018. Crimes against properties rose from 171 to 258 in 2018.

Sexual assaults dropped from 11 to five. Assaults were up by 10 to 32 in 2018. Violence and threats of violence were down from 18 to 12. There were no reported murders of attempted murders.

El-Chantiry says the property crimes number “is a jump.”

Break and enters were up from 32 to 56 and theft over $5,000 went from four to 12. Theft under $5,000 was up from 49 to 78. Fraud jumped by 18 to 53 and mischief went from 32 to 42.

Arson dropped from three to zero and vehicle theft went up by one to 17.

There were no gambling or prostitution charges and both possession and trafficking went down from seven to four and four to one respectively.

Criminal code traffic offences dropped in every category that wasn’t already at zero.

El-Chantiry doesn’t think last fall’s tornado had a big impact on property crimes although there was talk of looting in the community.

“I think it happened once that we know of, but that’s why we kept the private security,” he said.

El-Chantiry says he and all his council colleagues are constantly communicating the importance of reporting crime.

“We keep asking people,” he said. “We keep encouraging people to report online. We promote this everywhere we go. Not just crimes, but traffic too.”

Speaking of traffic, El-Chantiry says that is what he hears the most about from the community.

“Traffic is still an issue, absolutely,” he said. “Would we like more enforcement out here? Yes. Overall, Ward 5 is still the safest in the city.”