The handcuffs on this teenager may seem like a severe punishment for being out past curfew, but there's a reason for the restraint: the court had ordered him to be home by 9, as he faces drug and robbery-related charges.

"He's very calm because he's under the influence of marijuana," said Sgt. Sal Barakat. "He says he can't remember if he smoked today or didn't smoke today."

Drugs are a big part of the gang problem in Ottawa, a problem the guns and gangs team is working hard to crack down on. The Direct Action Response Team, or DART, is one part of that unit. 

"We're a gang-suppression unit that looks at anything involving firearms or gang members so anybody released on any condition or house arest, it's our mandate they are abiding by their conditions or remain at their residence," said Const. Dikah, who asked that his first name not be released publicly.

New approach for repeat offenders

Prior to DART being around, a close eye wasn't always kept on repeat offenders. That's no longer the case. When conditions are violated, there are serious consequences. Arrests and judge appearances are now commonplace.

In addition to making sure people are abiding by their release conditions, the DART team also routinely patrols areas and buildings that are of concern to the community.

The officers say their job isn't just about hunting down criminals. It also is about connecting with people in the community.

"We want to show them not only we go and the criminal element is taken care of, but we also want to make sure they see us in different way," says Const. Dikah.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Vanessa Lee