Neighbourhood Watch Brampton Pilot Ends

Brampton Focus Community Media regrets to inform residents that the Neighbourhood Watch Brampton Pilot program has ended and the program is being paused. Don McLeod, Founder and President of Brampton Focus said “he is disappointed that at time of great public health concern and growing incidents of crime we are forced to re-prioritize our focus.”

McLeod added “we are thankful to the thousands of residents who engaged with the program over the past four years and their patience in getting a viable and effective program developed. Residents who go to work, pay their bills and raise their families here deserve to live in a safe a vibrant city. We are thankful to our student interns (75 positions over 4 years) that worked in neighbourhoods across the city, and our volunteer board of directors that guided the way.”

The development of Neighbourhood Watch Brampton started in July 2016 after the previous city council (2014-2018) ended the Brampton Safe City Association. The current program was built from the ground up to rely on communication technology to educate and organize neighbourhood groups. It was funded for three years through volunteers.

In July 2019, after years of public delegations to City Council, $150,000 was reserved to fund the expansion of Neighbourhood Watch Brampton over a 6 month trial period. The decision was challenged by a failed municipal candidate who’s complaint against all City Councillors to the city’s Integrity Commissioner took 7 months and over $100,000 to review, ending in no findings of ethics violations by City Councillors.

The pilot was extended to a 12 month period which ended in July 2020. Council is expected to receive a staff report evaluating the pilot later in September and they will have another opportunity to set a firm direction on how to move forward.

At a delegation to council today (Sept 9, 2020), Fazal Khan, the Program Manager requested bridge funding that could keep the program running until council decides on next steps. Khan says “we have continued to fund the program for 10 weeks since the end of the pilot.” After the Committee of Council meeting today, he said “we have gone through a grueling process of working with City Council for over 4 years and it is still not clear where council stands.” He added “after delegating, I was surprised that Council had no questions of me or about the pilot but rather discussed a referral to staff that had nothing to do with the request in my delegation.”

At today’s meeting, Jotvinder Sodhi and Adele Rochon (a.k.a. Adele Mac) from HOWA (Home Owner’s Welfare Association) delegated that their group deserves funding to provide community safety solutions in the city. We have been unable to find a website for this group or discern their solutions to reduce crime and improve community safety. Ward 7/8 Councillor Charmaine Williams pushed the idea of developing a framework for a Request For Purchase (RFP) process to encourage competitive bids on providing community safety solutions. This comes after a number of failed municipal candidates mounted campaigns to discredit Neighbourhood Watch Brampton, Brampton Focus, our volunteer board, and program staff while offering no solution or alternative.

Khan says that he is “disappointed in the cabal of failed community leaders that are encouraged to cavort as sincere and trustworthy holders of the public purse, when all they are doing is promoting themselves to stay relevant for some future election .”

Brampton Focus is also pausing Brampton Neighbours and all social media and will cease all pro bono community media services. The organization is expanding to provide communication services to community groups, small business, non-profits and municipalities across Canada.