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August 4, 2006
Safety Audits help make streets safer in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods
  
The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC), in collaboration with the City of Toronto’s Community Safety Secretariat, conducted a Safety Audit in the Kingston-Galloway-Morningside neighbourhood today, the first of a series of audits that will take place in priority neighbourhoods. The audit was co-sponsored by the East Scarborough Storefront and Arising Women.

METRAC’s Safety Audit is a community action tool that brings people together to address everyone’s public safety, focusing on women, children and marginalized groups who are most vulnerable to violence. The goal of a safety audit is to evaluate the safety of streets and public spaces. Through the audit, common safety concerns come to light by opening up discussions among residents on violence that can lead to long-term solutions to make communities safer for everyone.

“METRAC is a leader in developing safety audits that have been used in Canada and around the world,” said Councillor David Soknacki (Ward 43 Scarborough East) who participated in today’s launch. “The City of Toronto is pleased to partner with METRAC to introduce this tool that will strengthen support to Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods.”

Area residents, City staff and community agencies took to the streets to conduct the audit, assessing various locations such as parking lots and garages, the public transit system, housing units and parks. Features that were examined included lighting, signs and maps, sightlines, accessibility, security, isolation, maintenance and entrapment sites. Results of the Kingston-Galloway-Morningside Safety Audit will guide the development of a community-based action plan to implement ideas for improvement proposed by the people who best know the community.

“The Safety Audit is an opportunity for community members, particularly women and children, to have a voice and to use it to make changes in their neighbourhood,” said Councillor Gay Cowbourne (Ward 44 Scarborough East) who joined residents to carry out the audit. “When residents get involved and know they can make a difference, they become a part of the decision-making process.”

Through its partnership with the City of Toronto’s Community Safety Secretariat, METRAC is launching Neighbourhood Report Cards, a new feature of its Safety Audits. Report Cards will be published to highlight what community members feel are pressing safety issues and detail how safe community members feel in their neighbourhood. The Report Card for the Kingston-Galloway-Morningside neighbourhood will be available in the fall.

“We are especially excited about the new Report Cards,” explained Wendy Komiotis, Executive Director of METRAC. “It’s a new way for Toronto’s residents to communicate across neighbourhoods about how safe they really feel. It will break the isolation that women in particular face about their unique neighbourhood fears - like the way they look behind their shoulders when coming home late or the nervousness they feel when going out alone, because of the threat of harassment and assault. We’ll know we’re not alone and that, despite our differences, we all want our neighbourhoods to be safer for women, children, and in turn, for everyone.”

A Safety Audit has also been organized for the Falstaff neighbourhood in August. Audits for Malvern, Jane-Finch, Jamestown/Rexdale, Flemingdon Park and Chester Le neighbourhoods will be scheduled for the fall.


Media contacts:

Maya Roy
Community Safety Secretariat
Toronto Social Development
Finance and Administration
416-392-8661 (office)
416-525-6732 (cell)

Narina Nagra
METRAC
416-392-3137


 

 

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