Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for 2021-03-22

A few topics since the 17th up to today:

  • The real threat of authentic-looking fake guns.
  • Hate incidents targeting Asian community.
  • Missing 37-year-old man to locate – Seen near Tunney’s Pasture on Sunday.

If you’re interested in helping out, see our Neighbourhood Watch Page.

– Alex

—– Forwarded Message —–
Subject: Neighbourhood Watch Bulletin for March 17, 2021
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 2021 13:44:45 -0400
From: Darren Joseph <>

The real threat of authentic-looking fake guns

The Ottawa Police Service continues to see a high number of authentic-looking fake firearms (including air pistols, BB guns, imitations and replicas) being displayed in public or used in crimes. Exhibiting, manipulating, or carrying these items is dangerous and has triggered multiple priority police responses this year. These incidents can also lead to criminal charges.

“These firearms are often designed to look like the real thing and it is often impossible to distinguish them from a real gun,” said Insp. Carl Cartright. “When a concerned member of the public calls 911 about a gun in the community, police are dispatched and treat the firearm as real until it is determined not to be.”

By the beginning of March 2021, 30 fake or replica guns have been recovered by Ottawa Police. In 2020, police recovered approximately 260 (either through seizure or those brought in for disposal). It’s a trend seen in many Canadian cities.

“This is an important safety message,” said Insp. Cartright. “Police recently responded to several incidents where people were displaying fake firearms and triggered 911 calls from concerned members of the public.

These types of incidents are dangerous, for members of the community and police.

Along with the safety risks, serious charges can result:

  • Criminal Code of Canada: Using an imitation firearm to commit a crime results in the same penalties as using a real firearm. Possession of an imitation gun can cause individuals to breach their court-imposed conditions.
  • Canadian Firearms Act: There are legal requirements for the ownership, safe use, transportation and storage of certain types of air guns. Check with the RCMP Canadian Firearms Program or the manufacturer for more information.
  • City of Ottawa Bylaw #2002-344: No person shall discharge a firearm in the City except where authorized. Further, BB guns and pellet guns are included within the firearms definition under air-guns and spring-guns.

If you are using a fake firearm in filming, a permit must be obtained by City of Ottawa’s Event Central prior to filming any content in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Police Service would also like to offer the following safety tips with the use of imitation firearms:

  • Do not exhibit, manipulate, or carry a fake firearm in public places;
  • NEVER point a fake firearm at another person;
  • Handle your fake firearm as you would a real firearm: keep them locked in a case for safety and to prevent misunderstandings;
  • If you are approached by police, put the fake or replica firearm down and listen to their instructions.

The Ottawa Police will continue to build awareness around fake and replica guns and would like to encourage the public to use them in a safe manner; this will result in the reduction of incidents requiring priority police responses.

Hate incidents targeting Asian community

Since the start of the pandemic, the proportion of racialized members of the community who have experienced an increase in harassment or attacks based on their race, ethnicity, or skin colour has increased compared to the rest of the population. The largest increase is seen among Asian-Canadians. In 2020, the number of reported incidents targeting people of Asian descent increased to 14 from 2 in 2019.

The tragic events that occurred in the mass shooting event in Atlanta, Georgia, US this week have refocused attention on this important issue.

The Ottawa Police continues to reach out to the Asian community to express our support and our commitment to everyone’s safety. Neighbourhood Resource Team members have been engaged to work with community contacts and uniformed police presence has been increased.

Our Hate and Bias Crime Unit and Diversity Resource and Relations Unit are focused on ensuring community members are better educated on and enabled to report hate incidents.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of what they perceive to be a hate-motivated incident, please report it to the Ottawa Police Hate and Bias Crime Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5015 or online. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at

“The Ottawa Police fully investigates all hate-motivated incidents and takes them very seriously,” said Sgt. Ali Toghrol of the Hate and Bias Crime Unit. “We encourage anyone in our community who has been targeted to report it to police.”

A hate crime is a criminal offence committed against a person or property which is motivated by hate/bias or prejudice based on race, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, or other similar factor.

Officers in the Hate and Bias Crime Unit monitor and triage all incoming reports and ensure a timely, consistent and effective response to all hate-motivated incidents in the city.

All sections of the Ottawa Police Service including, Patrol Operations, Front Desk Services, Communications Centre and our Neighbourhood Response Teams have received specialized training from the Hate Bias Crime Unit to ensure the appropriate response and improve service delivery. We have also engaged OPS officers of Asian descent to reach out directly and communicate our support and information and how to report crimes in multiple languages.

For more information, visit the Hate-Motivated Crime Section online.

Missing 37-year-old man to locate

The Ottawa Police Service is asking for public assistance in locating missing Brandon Benford, 37 years old of Ottawa.  He was last seen on foot around Tunney’s Pasture on Sunday, March 21st at around 5:00am. There are concerns for his well-being.

Brandon is described as a Caucasian male, 6’ (183cm), muscular build, blue eyes, short light blonde hair faded on the sides and back, clean shaven. He also has tattoos on each side of his neck.

Brandon was last seen wearing blue jeans, red shoes, and light grey sweatshirt with blue sleeves.

Anyone with information on the current whereabouts of Brandon is asked to call the Ottawa Police at 613-236-1222.

If you have information that could assist investigators, but do not know where he is currently, please contact the Missing Persons Unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 2355, between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, daily.

Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at

Contact Cst. Stephanie Lemieux directly (east of O-Train, Line 2) at or 613-236-1222, ext. 5287.

Contact Cst. Darren Joseph directly (west of O-Train, Line 2) at or  613-236-1222, ext. 5781.