Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Turning the Page

Sometimes in our lives we are forced to look hard at ourselves regarding our true feelings, our priorities and what our objectives are. I have been in that phase for about a year now.Maybe I can say that I have been trying to find myself..hey 54 years old and still I don't know the real meaning of life ...do you?

I am the type person that uses instinct and feelings as my guide. I know what I am good at and I know what I am not good at. I also know that I have to take care of myself as nobody else will....but of course when I say something like that, Jules always pipes up and say that he will always take care of me even when I am old and grey...well the grey is already here but thanks to Garnier hair products I'll keep my hair red for now!

In my last post I spoke about my swimming day and the inner peace which I had in the middle of the pool. It was there that I was able to make a decision about my future. It was there that I decided to submit my resignation to AFPAD. It was there that I said to myself that I have to work more on prevention with young women and adults. That is where I want to make a difference.

We hear so often how after a tragedy something changes...remember the overpasses in Laval, Quebec which fell and innocent people died. It's after these tragedies that governments decide to invest money, do repairs, rethink their strategies...always after the fact. My daily job is working in prevention....that is what I know best and that is what I want to continue doing. When the employees in my building complain about something, I often tell them to not be a part of the problem, but be a part of the solution. I want to live by my owns words.

2009 is going to be a good year....a year of transition, a year of meeting new people and spreading the word. I will speak to many more young women and young men about abusive relationships. Remaining silence is not the answer....breaking the silence will save lives !

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Violent Crime takes a Dive

Here is an article from the Gazette about our wonderful major crimes division of the Montreal Police. The officers that work this division are dedicated into giving their 100% + to solving cases. Many may not want to agree with me, but my experience with the men and women of this unit has been incredible. I have the up most respect for them. Let's remember they are the first ones to appear at a crime scene. They are the ones who see first hand the horrible things that we do not even want to imagine and they too have to go home to their families .

I am pleased to see that the crime rate has declined in 2008. I wonder why that is happening. Are there less domestic homicides because more women are getting out of their situations? Are people taking more responsibility for their own safety? Is it because people like myself are speaking out more? Are associations, schools and people in general working more on prevention? Are women realizing that they don't have to accept abuse and are taking charge of their lives? Are there less youth getting involved in street gangs because there is more structured activities available in the community for them?

What ever the reasons, let's work together to make 2009 an even better year.

The article :

Killings Dropped in 2008. So did attempted murders. Montreal police say their drive to stop street gang crime is having an effect, but criminologists say it's also part of a trend seen across North America

By PAUL CHERRYJanuary 2, 2009

Commander Clement Rose, of the Montreal Police major crimes division in the division's east end headquarters Tuesday, December 16, 2008. Montreal has witnessed its lowest number of homicides in decades.
Photograph by: John Kenney
The list of names on the board is what always catches your eye.
Any visit to the Montreal police major crimes division's headquarters at Place Versailles always causes a person to glance at the white board on which investigators maintain a list of the homicide victims for the year.
Just as in the bestselling book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets - victims' names are written on the large white board in two different coloured markers, with unsolved cases standing out in a brighter colour for all to notice.
But today, there is something reassuring about the length of the list on the board.
With 29 homicides reported on the island of Montreal last year, the squad investigated the lowest number of cases since 1972, the year several police forces on the island were merged to create the Montreal Urban Community police (now known simply as the Montreal police). The previous record low was 35 in 2005. There were 42 homicides reported in 2006 and 41 in 2007.
While reflecting on the drop, Commander Clément Rose, head of the major crimes squad, said he is sometimes skeptical of numbers but 2008 also stands out because of the noticeable drop in other violent crimes reported in Montreal.
"When you see the number of homicides drop along with the number of attempted murders, that is very significant. It means a real drop in violent crime in Montreal," Rose said.
As of mid-December, there had been 59 attempted murders reported in Montreal, compared with 99 in 2007 and 136 in 2006.
Rose attributes relative peace among the city's organized crime groups over the past six years as one factor in the reduction in violent crime.
"There are groups in the criminal milieu, the biker gangs or the Mafia who control certain parts (of the city) where they sell drugs, but there is no war. There are conflicts. Sometimes there are incidents between groups, but there is no war over territory where they are following each other and are plotting to kill each other," he said.
Rose also credits his police force's policy of making street gangs its No. 1 priority, through prevention programs and enforcement units like Project Eclipse, for contributing to the lower number of homicides. Over the past few years, he said, the Montreal police have developed important ties to neighbourhoods where street gangs are a problem and have developed more sources within the milieu than they've ever had before.
There were seven street gang-related homicides in 2008 compared with14 in 2007. There were 39 attempted murders related to street gang activity in 2008 compared with 54 in 2007. Rose said the street-gang killings in 2008 stemmed from conflicts between individual gang members rather than a rivalry between groups.
When asked if one homicide in particular stood out in 2008, Rose answered without hesitation.
A young woman was killed in her home on 5th Ave. in Rosemont and her killer tried to cover up the crime by setting her apartment on fire before leaving. No one has emerged as a suspect, which bothers Rose because he knows an unsolved homicide like that is disturbing, especially to people who live in the same neighbourhood as the victim.
"They are all tragic, but that is a particular case that stands out," Rose said. "We've made a lot of effort to solve it."
Charges have been filed in 13 of the 29 homicides investigated in 2008 and, when interviewed, Rose was confident charges would soon be filed in at least two others.
In addition to the year's caseload, the major crimes squad solved eight homicides that happened in 2007 or earlier.
When those numbers are merged with the 2008 cases, it gives the squad a high solution rate.
A significant drop in armed robberies - 68 in 2008 compared with 93 in 2007 - gave investigators time to close older cases, a trend Rose said he hopes will continue.
University of Toronto criminologist Rosemary Gartner said such drops in violent crime are part of a trend that began several years ago.
"In Canada, as far as very serious violent crime goes, that has been pretty much the trend across most major cities and the nation as a whole," Gartner said of the numbers witnessed in Montreal this year.
"Despite the tendency to believe things are getting worse - they're not."
Gartner also said the widely held theory that North America's ageing population is contributing to reduced violent crime rates explains only part of the drop
"I think the best estimates on that are that the changes in the age distribution of the population can attribute for five per cent of the decline. But it is certainly not an overall explanation," Gartner said.
She added that much analysis has been done on the trend in the United States and most of it points to things like increased imprisonment rates and zero-tolerance policing.
"But those don't apply to Canada because our imprisonment rates have not increased and we haven't gone toward the zero-
tolerance policing they have in the States," Gartner said. Because of this, some U.S. criminologists are now rethinking their theories.
"There is something else going on. What that something else is is presumably very hard to measure, like something to do with demography or a larger cultural change."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Feeling like a Dolphin

This week I had the opportunity to swim at the Dollard des Ormeaux Aquatic centre. The city of Dollard graciously in 2005 dedicated a conference room in Kelly-Anne's name as she had been employed by the centre. Kelly-Anne's university grad photo sits on a plaque commemorating the room and can be seen by all who are in the pool.

I swam Monday and went back today. Monday's swim was great, but today was unbelievable. When I returned home, Kim asked me how the swim was. Without going into an emotional dialogue I answered her saying it was awesome.

Nobody knows who I am when I am at the pool. Nobody knows that it is my daughter who watches over me from the conference room as I swim. Today I swam about 36 laps and felt such an inner peace. My timing, strokes and breathing was all perfect. It seemed like Kelly-Anne was watching over me and coaching me all at the same time. At one point I swam across the pool and was in the centre of the pool surrounded only by the vastness of the water but I did not feel alone. I felt so at peace and felt like a dolphin enjoying the water.

Today was another turning point for me....another step in finding my inner peace...of acceptance...I don't know...you tell me.

It's back to work on Monday. I will have to find a way to get back to the pool hopefully on the weekends if there is lap swim.

I also went to the gym this week and will go there tomorrow morning. I go to the gym because it is important for someone my age to exercise and keep the muscles and heart happy, but it's so boring!

The pool beats it all by a long shot !