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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should I call 9-1-1?

If an emergency is taking place, call 9-1-1. An emergency includes:

  • a crime in progress
  • a fire
  • a medical emergency that requires an ambulance

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) also helps the community in non-emergency situations. For non-emergency contact information, visit the Understanding the Police section of this Toolkit.

When should I call 3-1-1?

The City of Ottawa launched the 3-1-1 service to connect residents with its "one-stop" Contact Centre. The Centre provides answers on everything from recreation to recycling, parking, burned-out street light bulbs, problems in parks, and many other city-related topics. You can also reach the city’s By-Law department by calling 3-1-1 to report issues that are not criminal but that concern the rules we live by as neighbours in our community. This can include things like excessive noise and property standards. You can learn more about by-laws in the section Understanding By-Law.

When should I call 2-1-1?

If you’re looking for information and contacts in the area of social, health, community or governmental services, call the Community Information Centre of Ottawa at 2-1-1. You can also visit their website.

What is a Community Police Centre?

Community Police Centres are an essential part of the Ottawa Police Service. These centres act as:

  • primary focal points for problem solving in their assigned neighborhoods
  • primary locations for community crime prevention initiatives and partnerships
  • a hub for information dissemination and referrals

Learn more about the Community Police Centre for your neighbourhood.

How can I get in touch with my City Councillor?

You can find the full list of Ottawa City Councillors and their contact information on the City of Ottawa website.

What is a neighbourhood or community association?

A neighbourhood or community association is a group of residents who live in a certain area and who work together to take on neighbourhood projects or to speak up on issues that concern residents. You can learn more in the section Start a Neighbourhood Association.

What is Neighbourhood Watch?

Neighbourhood Watch is a crime-prevention program that gets citizens involved in discouraging and preventing crime by watching out for their neighbours and their neighbours’ property. A Neighbourhood Watch also acts in reporting crime or suspicious activities to police. You can learn more in the section Form a Neighbourhood Watch.

What is block party?

A block party is a neighbourhood event in which residents get together to hold a social gathering on their street. You can learn how to organize a block party or another special event by reading the sections Organize a Block Party or Organize other Special Events.

What is a community clean-up?

A community clean-up is an event in which friends and neighbours work together to clean up a park, street, ravine, shoreline, pathway, bus stop or other public space. You can learn how to organize your own community clean-up or how to participate in one organized by the City of Ottawa in the section Organize a Community Clean-Up.

What is property crime?

Property crimes are crimes like break-and-enters in homes, theft of or from vehicles, vandalism or graffiti. You can learn more about property crime and how to protect yourself in the section Preventing and Reporting Property Crime.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information. A criminal can use this information to commit credit card, loan or mortgage fraud, and to duplicate your passport or other valuable identification documents. You can learn more about identity theft and how to protect yourself in the section Identity Theft.

What can I do about drugs in my neighbourhood?

The sale and trafficking of illegal drugs can quickly ruin a neighbourhood, lowering property values. It brings a criminal element and many associated problems such as the sex trade, break-and-enter crimes and other types of theft. If you suspect drugs are being sold in your neighbourhood, contact the police. You can learn more about how to recognize drug trafficking and how to report it in the section Drug Trafficking. You can learn about how to recognize and deal with a drug house in your neighbourhood in the section Ongoing Problems with a Property.

What can I do about graffiti in my neighbourhood?

If you find graffiti in your neighbourhood, call the police to report it. You can learn more about who to call and what you can do to prevent graffiti in the section Graffiti.

What can I do about a noisy neighbour?

If you have a neighbour that is making excessive noise outside of appropriate hours, you can call By-Law to report them. You can learn more about city by-laws in the section Reporting By-Law Violations.