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Cleaned up? Not so much

One-Quarter of Montrealers see problem behaviour in their neighbourhoods

 

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The view on St. Antoine St. W. Almost a quarter of Montrealers said social incivility in one form or another is a problem in their neighbourhoods. Fifteen per cent mentioned drug use and five per cent specified prostitution.

 

CHRISTOPHER MAUGHAN, The Gazette

Published: 20 hours ago

 

Montreal has been known as "sin city" for the better part of a century, ever since Americans started coming here to drink freely during the Prohibition era.

 

A new survey suggests little has changed since. Researchers at Statistics Canada asked people living in big cities how often they witnessed incidences of social and physical incivility - that is, drunkenness, drug use, prostitution, vandalism, littering and the like. Montreal ranked second in almost every category.

 

Twenty-four per cent of Mont-realers said social incivility in one form or another is a problem in their neighbourhoods. Fifteen per cent specifically mentioned drug use and five per cent mentioned prostitution.

The view on St. Antoine St. W. Almost a quarter of Montrealers said social incivility in one form or another is a problem in their neighbourhoods. Fifteen per cent mentioned drug use and five per cent specified prostitution.View

 

Halifax and Vancouver were the only cities to report higher rates of social incivility, at 25 and 26 per cent respectively. They were also the only cities to report higher rates of drug use at 19 and 17 per cent respectively. As for prostitution, only Vancouver had a higher rate, with eight per cent of residents describing it as a problem.

 

People in 12 cities participated in the survey, the results of which came as no surprise to people downtown yesterday.

 

Guillaume Fontaine, 27, works at a club near the corner of Ste. Catherine St. and St. Laurent Blvd. He said he sees drug users hanging around all the time.

 

"Right in front of us across the street, in this area outside the doors there, they sit down and smoke their crack."

 

It's a routine they seem to have been allowed to slip into. Fontaine said he sees drug users "on an everyday basis" ever since he took a job in the area two years ago.

 

Others who work near the city's most notorious corner had similar complaints.

 

"You can see the prostitutes and drug dealers working all the time, even early in the morning," said Hélène Dumont, 49.

 

Montreal executive committee member Marcel Tremblay said police have behaviour like drug use, prostitution and vandalism under control and residents need not worry about the survey's results.

 

Tremblay said Montreal's rates of drug use, public drunkenness, vandalism or prostitution may be high for Canada, but aren't through the roof by any means.

 

"If you go all over North America, or all over the world, you'll have exactly the same thing."

 

And Tremblay was quick to point out that Montreal does quite well in preventing violent crimes.

 

"Have you seen the figures on security? We're (among the cities) with the least killings in Canada. We're able to go out 24 hours a day," he said.

 

But implementing community policing initiatives is just a part of what needs to be done to keep pushers, pimps and vandals off the streets, said Irvin Waller, director of the University of Ottawa's Institute for the Prevention of Crime.

 

"The solution ... is some combination of law enforcement and social services that tackle the roots of the problems," he said. "These social problems have been made a lot worse because of the large cutbacks in housing and mental hospitals in Canada in the 1990s. Montreal had a particularly bad time of that."

 

Most people on the street yesterday agreed with Waller, saying Montreal needs better social outreach programs rather than more police officers.

 

"It's obvious some of the people hanging around here are high, just look at them. But I think that's just the way it is in a big city," said Karima Lachal, 32, gesturing toward the UQÀM-Berri métro station.

 

Just then, a short, thin man with greasy, matted hair and a few days' stubble staggered over to ask if she had any change. Lachal politely brushed him off.

 

"There's a living example of what I'm talking about," she said. "Anyway, I think the police are doing their job, it's just that these people need more help on a social level."

 

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© The Gazette (Montreal) 2008

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yeah, there definitely is some hooliganism here. Quebec City feels so civilized next to Montreal. However, Toronto felt a great deal more dirty/dangerous (not to mention rude) than Montreal (but even Toronto is extremely safe). When we compare our city to others internationally we would be in the top 10 big cities for cleanliness and safety.

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Les gens qui écrivent ces articles ne doivent pas souvent sortit de leur pâté de maisons.

Si ils vont au Mexique, aux USA, en Chine, en Afrique, bref partout dans le monde, ils vont voir des tonnes de déchets partout et des détritus.

 

Dans le fond ces gens en ont contre leur propre style de vie qui pollue la terre lui-même.

C'est un problème mondial et non local.

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