Police meet residents of area troubled by gang violence

Ottawa police left their cruisers behind and met face-to-face with residents of the troubled neighbourhood of Overbrook Saturday, an area with a recent history of gang violence.

In a public meeting in the Overbrook Community Centre, more than a dozen officers appeared and asked residents what they thought could be done to stop the violence.

In many cases, the answer was simply to put more police on the streets.

"Venues like this allow people to tell us specifically where they believe these crimes and patterns are occurring and allows us to better serve them," said Const. Ryan Pierce.

Last March, 20-year-old Khalid Doreh was shot and killed in a home on Burn Street at Borthwick Avenue. Two other men were injured. Police said it was a gang-related shooting.

They're still looking for one of the suspects, Maher Majed, who lived on Prince Albert Street in Overbrook. Police raided another house on Prince Albert Street in late July and found weapons, including a loaded rifle.

Many residents have said they're concerned about their safety in the community.

The city councillor for the area, Peter Clark, said Saturday there seems to be more guns in Overbrook this year than in the past.

"You can't shut the pipeline down, because [handguns] come across [from] the States. It seems to be if there's a will there's a way. People find a way to get them. We need to find a way to convince them it's not a good idea," Clark said.

The community association hopes events like this, where police and the public bond, will help.

"Crime prevention is number one in any community. How you do that is you engage your neighbours and your public, and that's our top goal," said Sheila Perry, president of the Overbrook Community Association.