Lachine parents on a retro mission to make their neighbourhood safer

ABOVE: Residents in Lachine are trying to make the streets of their neighborhood a little more safe by bringing back the Block Parent Program. Global's Dan Spector reports.

A group of Lachine residents are taking matters into their own hands to make streets in the neighbourhood safer.

“My kids are my life and I need them to feel safe,” said Roxanne Lesage, a mother of three.

Lesage and her husband Benoit Patenaude have been living in the Ville-St-Pierre area of Lachine for nearly a decade. They don’t always feel great about letting their three children walk the streets alone. That’s why they have decided to revive the Block Parent initiative in Lachine.

“I think it’s our job as parents and citizens to try to make this place safer for children and the elderly. We have time, we have a window, we have a door, and why not?” Lesage told Global News.

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She has recently become the president of the Block Parents Committee in Lachine.

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Block Parents have been around for decades in Quebec and across Canada. People volunteer, go through a vetting process, and then they can put a Block Parent sign in their window, indicating their home is a safe haven for kids and seniors.

“You see a sign, you’re in danger, you go, they help you, then you go back home or get help. It’s too simple not to do,” she explained.

The old Lachine Block Parents chapter ceased operations last year. Now, Lesage and Patenaude are taking it upon themselves to bring it back.

Trust in the Block Parents
Trust in the Block Parents

“It’s making a comeback because we grew up with it, so it’s like our turn! We had it when we were young, then it died down, now it’s coming back with us,” Lesage said.

They’ve managed to get over a dozen Lachine community members on board.

“We have about 15 people total waiting for us to visit their homes and give them their signs,” she said.

The couple’s 13-year-old daughter Melodie admitted she sometimes feels unsafe walking the streets in her neighbourhood, and welcomes her parents’ initiative.

“It makes kids feel safe and parents too,” Melodie said.

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The mayor of Lachine doesn’t think the area is dangerous, but with more and more young families moving into the area, she salutes the initiative.

“I think it’s a great idea because it brings the community together and makes people feel more safe,” Mayor Maja Vodanovic told Global News.

Lesage and Patenaude envision a Lachine where the signs will be all over, and both children and seniors will always have somewhere to turn.