Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dufferin residents fighting crime

Getting phone line for anonymous tips

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Drugless and thugless.

That's how residents of the Dufferin area want to see their neighbourhood, after turning to some friends in Point Douglas for help.

This Saturday, about 500 residents of the inner-city neighbourhood will get posters advertising a new phone line dedicated to collecting anonymous tips that will hopefully clear out crack dealers, slum housing and gang houses.

"It's a very tough area," said Chris Burrows.

The 70-year-old former kindergarten teacher is the spokeswoman for the Dufferin-area Citizens on Watch (COW) program and also the wife of Sel Burrows, a community activist credited with cleaning up Point Douglas with its own COW program.

Chris Burrows said the couple who will be running the new phone line have to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

"We don't want them to be identified because it could be dangerous for them," she said.

"If it was found out what was happening, they might... at the best, get a brick through their window, but in that area of town it's just as likely to be a bullet," said Burrows.

The roots of the new citizens program came after a couple who were living in Point Douglas moved to the Dufferin area, and noticed gang activity and drug dealing as they took their children to school.

They contacted Burrows for help, and the program was born late this August.

It will cover the area from McPhillips Street east to Salter Street, and from Selkirk Avenue south to the CP Winnipeg Yards.

The group doesn't only report crimes but also derelict properties with boarded-up windows, so they can use city bylaws to crack down on problem properties. Burrows said properties have already been nailed for infractions such as improperly boarded windows.

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 15, 2010 A11

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