Women’s Initiatives For Safer Environments - Initiatives des Femmes pour la Sécurité Environnementale

Call us: 1-613-230-6700


Please consider a donation to WISE to support us in our work

Donate now

2024 AGM

Join us April 22nd for WISE's 2024 AGM

Learn More

ByWard Market Safety

By: Chloe Watt, WISE Chair

November 2019

The ByWard Market has many attractions for all ages both during the day and at night. During the day, you’ll see the busy hustle and bustle of a vibrant market with many independent stores and restaurants, and tourists exploring our beautiful city. When the sun goes down, the nightlife comes alive and often, you’ll be able to see buskers performing during the summer or some interesting night life. The general sense of comfort however seems to fall as the night progresses largely due to the recent increase in violent crimes in the area. We should not live in fear or feel uncomfortable going out with our friends but we should always remain vigilant.

As someone who has worked in the ByWard Market for a long time, I have often been asked if anything has happened or if I feel safe walking back to my car late at night. I’ve been lucky so far and aside from a few scares, nothing serious has happened to me. Do I feel comfortable? No, not always, but there are a number of things that we can do to keep our community safer for all:

Report unsafe areas to WISE to conduct a community safety audit and/or let your city councillor know. Take photos or videos of the area.
Let someone know when you’re leaving and when you’ll be back: I always let someone know when I’m leaving and when I get back. We send so many text messages in a given day but this one could make a huge difference in determining that there is a problem if I don’t check in.
Walk with friends or a co-worker if possible: It’s always safer to travel in groups so when this is an option I always take it. Going into the garage we will walk to one car and then drive to the other person’s car.
Is it an emergency? Call 9-1-1-. If not, think twice before involving the police: Did you know that police are called in more instances where there are racialized or Indigenous people involved when no police are actually necessary? In some cases, police presence aggravates situations of distress and conflict. If you see a crime, you can report it online at www.ottawapolice.ca/onlinereporting, by calling the non-emergency number at 613-236-1222, ext. 7300.
Trust your feelings: if I feel like something is off I don’t just brush it off. I will either pick another route or reassess if I should find another way of getting home like calling a friend or a taxi service.

Many community initiatives are working towards keeping us safer in the Market but we all have a role to play starting with practicing community safety and not turning away when we see a problem.

Learn more about WISE can support you and your community safety needs. Email us at info@wiseottawa.ca or give us a call at 613-230-6700.