Mr. Abdelhaq Sari, spokesperson for the Opposition party for public security, and Mr. Philippe Thermidor, borough councillor in the Ovide-Clermont district, presented solutions this morning to remedy cybercrime, cyberbullying and cyberstalking. Accompanied by Mr. Pierre Johnley, president and founder of the NSK organization, the elected officials of Ensemble Montréal are asking that a “Web patrol” made up of several social and community workers be put in place by the end of the year by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). This would allow for better monitoring of social networks, which are increasingly used as a catalyst by radical and criminal groups.
“Many disputes start online and then move to the streets. That requires constant awareness and prevention. This is the least the administration can do to help young people, their parents, their entourage and the authorities,” explained Mr. Thermidor at a press conference at Montreal City Hall.
Data from the SPVM show that files related to cybercrime have jumped from 20% to 30% in the last five years and that 98% of criminal files handled by the cyber investigation module now involve the use of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.
Faced with this problem, the Official Opposition also urges the City of Montreal and the SPVM to develop new spaces for safe expression in collaboration with their partners, while also promoting the prevention tools that exist via applications commonly used by young people. A chat platform, for example, could be set up to make it easier for victims of cybercrime, cyberharassment and cyberbullying to speak out.
“These measures would be complementary to the hotline dedicated specifically to Montrealers affected by youth violence that we have proposed and adopted at the council. We would be able to cover all angles, both preventive and coercive. Let’s not wait for a second Forum to take action,” added Sari.
To make these resources known to as many people as possible, an awareness campaign is being requested in all municipal spaces. This could culminate at the beginning or end of the school year with an awareness week on “the proper use of social media”.
“Many young people believe they are not capable of achieving their dreams, that they are not good enough. Online violence can be a part of that, and that’s why we need to make them aware of what’s being said and done online. We have to make sure that they don’t internalize this violence,” said Pierre Johnley, president and founder of the NSK youth organization.
A motion to this effect will be tabled to City Council on August 22.