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October 8, 2002
Neighbours step in to make communities safer at 3rd Annual Community Safety Night
On Thursday, October 24, hundreds of citizens across Toronto are planning to
conduct safety audits to make their neighbourhoods safer places to live, work
and play. The 3rd Annual Community Safety Night, co-sponsored by the City of
Toronto's Task Force on Community Safety and METRAC (Metropolitan Action
Committee on Violence Against Women and Children), will once again offer
neighbours a chance to go on "walkabouts" to evaluate local areas, identify
areas they feel are unsafe, and to make suggestions for improving safety.

"The Task Force on Community Safety focuses on communities, so this annual
night is a perfect fit," says Councillor Brad Duguid (Scarborough Centre, Ward
38), the Task Force Chair. "It provides a formal way for citizens to learn
about the safety of their neighbourhoods and it is a great example of
community-driven action against violence. It also does one more important thing
- it creates a forum for community members to advocate safety-producing changes
with the City of Toronto."

On the 3rd Annual Community Safety Night, Toronto's community members will use
METRAC's Safety Audit Resource Kit to evaluate the safety of their
neighbourhoods. This interactive inclusive tool helps to promote discussion
about safety concerns and ideas for change and it allows a diverse group of
people to voice those ideas to their Toronto councillors. Safety audits hinge
on the notion that once communities are made safer for women, who feel more
vulnerable in public spaces, they will be safer for everyone.

The goal of organizers is to have every neighbourhood across Toronto
participate, and to involve each Toronto councillor in the process of making
the city a safer place. METRAC is working in partnership with task force
members to achieve this.

"Community Safety Night is designed to bring diverse community members together
to develop common solutions to prevent public violence in our neighbourhoods,"
said Andrea Gunraj, who is coordinating the program for METRAC. "We are also
working towards the goal of having safer communities where people can live free
from violence and from the threat of violence."

Once the audit night is completed, staff from METRAC will collect the audit
information and will arrange face-to-face sessions between community members,
councillors and task force members. The response to the first two Community
Safety Nights was tremendous and led to recommendations on improved lighting
and sightlines in a variety of neighbourhoods.

To get a copy of the Safety Audit Resource Kit, which includes all of the tools
neighbourhoods need to conduct and promote their safety audit, contact METRAC
at 416-392-4760.

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