Laval tables 10-year plan to crack down on juvenile delinquency

City offers ‘concrete solutions’ for recent rise in urban violence

In the lingering aftermath of a shooting incident in November 2022 at Collège Montmorency which led to a day-long lockdown at the CEGEP, the City of Laval last week unveiled a new multi-faceted strategy for ensuring security and well-being in Laval – with a significant focus on young adults and youths.

Laval’s Plan stratégique Sécurité et bien-être collectif (Strategic security and well-being plan) will act as a framework to be gradually implemented over the next 10 years.

Laval Police Chief Pierre Brochet explains part of the city’s long-term urban violence plan, as Mayor Stéphane Boyer listens. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

A preventive action plan

Based on the premise that social, economic, domestic and personal experiences often play a key role in determining whether a young person turns violent or becomes delinquent, the strategy places emphasis on persons from 12 to 35 years of age.

Although it was probably the most troubling crime-related incident in Laval in recent years, the Collège Montmorency shooting was not by any means an isolated happening.

Since at least early 2020 when the Covid pandemic first set in, the number of shootings and firearms-related incidents in Laval – involving younger people for the most part – skyrocketed.

Rising crime levels

According to statistics furnished by the city last week during a technical briefing held at the de l’Avenir Blvd. college campus, from 2019 to 2021 Laval saw an increase in juvenile criminality and violent acts, two-thirds of which involved suspects between the ages of 17 and 21.

Laval’s police chief Pierre Brochet, Mayor Stéphane Boyer, Vimont CAQ MNA Valérie Schmaltz and Chomedey Liberal MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier are seen here at the centre of a group of Laval city councillors who were on hand last week at Collège Montmorency for the city’s Strategic security and well-being plan announcement. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Some shorter-term strategies the city implemented in response, with financial help from the Quebec government, appear to have brought the situation under control – at least for the time being. What the city is aiming for now is a much longer-term fix for the problem. This latest strategy will serve as a framework for a range of smaller programs, according to the city.

80 groups involved

In a revitalized effort to keep violent acts and gun-related crimes under control, the city has enlisted the active support of some 80 local community organizations that share a stake in the outcome. They are involved in education, mental and physical health, substance abuse rehabilitation, as well as ethnic and multicultural integration.

Although specifics for the plan appear to be far from finalized at this point, the city says that more than a dozen meetings between officials in City of Laval departments have already taken place, as well as a half-dozen meetings between members of a steering committee made up of leaders from 16 partner groups.

“Today we are ramping up our efforts in order to respond directly to the needs of young people in Laval,” said Mayor Stéphane Boyer. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

As for who is going to pay for it all, the Quebec Ministry of Public Security has agreed to pony up with $4.6 million, a significant amount of which will be originating from the federal government’s Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF).

Quebec’s financial support

Quebec’s front-and-centre role in providing financial support was emphasized by the fact that CAQ MNA for Vimont Valérie Schmaltz was cued to deliver remarks first during the city’s press conference, before Mayor Stéphane Boyer or Laval Police Dept. chief Pierre Brochet spoke.

“Today we are ramping up our efforts in order to respond directly to the needs of young people in Laval 12 to 35 years of age, and to invest in the long term in resources in all the neighbourhoods to be able to maintain a city that is secure for everyone,” said Boyer.

“With the valuable cooperation of more than 80 partners, we are bringing together all our strengths to follow and influence the trajectories of youths who are at-risk for social breakdown or for becoming involved in delinquent behaviours,” he continued. “This historic partnership in Laval that we are building together will lead to a city that is stronger, more secure and more agreeable.”

A concerted effort

“The coming into being of this strategic plan demonstrates the power of the collaborative work done with our partners for the security and well-being of the population,” said Brochet.

“Our police service is treating urban violence as an organizational priority,” said Laval Police chief Pierre Brochet. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

“All the players who are involved have expertise and an approach that complements one another. Our police service is treating urban violence as an organizational priority, and we are stating once again out commitment to making all possible efforts to contribute to maintaining a sense of peace among all our citizens, while offering Laval’s youths avenues to be able to turn their backs on crime.”

Braking crime in Chomedey

Chomedey Liberal MNA Sona Lakhoyan Olivier, who has expressed deep concerns about rising crime levels in her riding, told The Laval News she was pleased with the city’s efforts, although “we should have done this a couple of years ago,” she added.

“I’m worried about Chomedey. We have beautiful spaces, but crime’s really coming up, and this is something important that’s finally being done. I just hope Chomedey isn’t left out because Laval is big. Hopefully we are not left out.”

Action Laval, one of the city’s two opposition parties, also had a mixed reaction. While a spokesperson said the party membership was pleased that something was finally being done, he suggested it was overdue and they were waiting for further developments.

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Martin C. Barry
LJI Reporter. A journalist with the Laval News since 2005. During his 27 years covering political and community issues in the Montreal region, Marty has won numerous journalism awards from the Quebec Community Newspapers Association for written coverage as well as for photography.