Crime-prevention chairwoman asks: what are you afraid of?
The chairwoman of the new St. John’s crime-prevention committee pledges the group’s focus will be on action, not words.
Announced by St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe last June, the committee held its first meeting Friday at City Hall, bringing together representatives from city council and staff, the John Howard Society, the English School District and Eastern Health, among others. Marie Ryan is the committee’s chairwoman.
“What indeed are the main catalysts?” asked Ryan, a former city councillor and deputy mayor. “We’re going to go out to people and say, what are you afraid of? What is it that you feel are the sources of crime? But we’re also going to lookfor the solutions.”
Committee members already have a good base of knowledge of what can be done, she said, and the committee will also pool that expertise and help people share their own strategies.
“So what is it that the school district is doing that the Community Youth Network or the John Howard Society or some other group can build on?” said Ryan. “And when we invite representation from key and critical groups in this city, we will ask them the same thing. What we will do is we’re hoping to develop a compendium of what’s everybody doing, and see where we might be able to make the linkages, and improve some of the activities that are going on for crime prevention.”
We know that even in the last number of years we’ve seen this burgeoning drug trade. We have youth sex workers. Marie Ryan, chairwoman, crime-prevention committee
Because the committee — which plans to meet monthly — reports to council, Ryan noted, it will need to able to demonstrate what it is accomplishing.
“We will, after the first couple of meetings, have a better sense of what it is we hope to achieve, and then as we go along we’ll monitor to make sure we’re heading in that direction,” she said. “We’re not going to be inflexible. We’re in a city, so lots of things can happen. We know that even in the last number of years we’ve seen this burgeoning drug trade. We have youth sex workers. … We’re not going to be inflexible in what we do, but we’re going to make sure that anything we do endeavour to do will be something that can have an impact.”