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Ms. Nancy Higgins, Co-ordinator, Crime Prevention and Policing Programs, Program Development Section, Policing Services Division, Ministry of the Solicitor General, Government of Ontario.
25 Grosvenor Street, 12th Floor, Toronto ON, M7A 2H3.
Here is the final evaluation and final financial statement of the Dufferin Grove Park “Partners Against Crime” project. As your letter points out, the end of our funding came almost two years ago, so that our report is very overdue.
The fact is, we never stopped working on this and therefore we never declared an “end.” The length of the project, so far, has been (in our perception) one year funded and two years unfunded. That is, we regard this as a project that will not go away. We strongly believe in the necessity of working out standards of behaviour in public space, which will allow all citizens maximum enjoyment of our commons. To stop working at this task is not an option.
In our view, the police must find a way to become receptive to such community initiatives, both small and large. In our experience, they have not found this way. Our project never became a “community-police partnership,” and not because we didn’t try. As you will see from the lengthy appendix to our report, we are still trying. But in all this time we have not found the key.
However, because we were forced to solve most of our problems without police help and without the help of the court system either, we learned some useful things in other ways. The publication of a monthly park newsletter, whose distribution has quadrupled since the first issue in Sept.2000, has been of great help in making the various groups and people more acquainted with the issues and with one another. Park bulletin boards have proved a great incentive to public discussions about fear and safety in public space. Our park, recently given recognition at an international parks conference as a “great community place,” has become so much more of a spontaneous meeting place that community problems can get the creative attention of many more people.
Please let us know if there is any necessary information missing in this report. And if you know others in your Ministry who would have an interest in our experiences (and might have some good counsel) we would much appreciate it if your would pass this report along.
President, Friends of Dufferin Grove Park.