The Council of Canadians - Winnipeg Chapter

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Provincial Crime Priority - Prevention or Punishment

Posted by Winnipeg Chapter on September 20, 2011 at 1:15 PM

“Evidence based crime prevention.”  It's a whole system of finding and recommending the most effective methods of crime prevention, based on careful, thorough research and clear, significant results. Public Safety Canada has published a number of reports intended to assist governments as they make decisions about crime prevention strategies.


There's even a report called "Evidence Based Crime Prevention: Scientific basis, trends, results and implications,"  in which the most successful methods are outlined in detail, with full statistical support.


So, we know how best to prevent crime. 


We too often don't have the political will to follow through. "Regrettably, evidence of what works best seems to rarely be a factor in implementing new crime prevention programs because policy and political considerations often dominate." p13 EBCP - Brandon C Welsh, PhD. 2007


In the various settings of family, community, school or specific places (stores, parking lots, buses etc) there are effective, proven ways to prevent or reduce crime. In the community, for instance, there are three types of programs that after extensive experimentation and observation, show promising results:

  • gang member intervention programs that are focused on reducing cohesion among youth gangs and individual gang members;
  • community-based mentoring;
  • and after-school recreation.

Prison does not appear in the list.


Here in Winnipeg, there is a never ending struggle to ensure funding for programs like Circle of Courage and Ndinawe; programs that fit exactly into these categories. Instead of funding these  programs, federal money is directed toward building more prisons and the municipal budget toward more police and a police helicopter. Now it's true that where there are criminals, police and up-to-the-minute equipment make it easier to catch them, but isn't an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?


Kids aren’t born criminals; they’re born kids. Life in prison doesn't bring back a murder victim. Early intervention with effective programs and accessible resources for at-risk children can prevent a murder from happening.


There are many potentially successful programs already in place in Manitoba and there’s room for many more. If we truly want to reduce our crime rate, we need to put our tax dollars into proven crime prevention strategies; but with the popular, ill-informed push to hire more police, build more prisons and fill them with more prisoners serving longer sentences, our elected representatives will be in danger of once again letting political considerations dominate as they address crime in Manitoba.


Talk to your candidates. Tell them you want to help stop kids from becoming criminals. Tell them you want your tax dollars to pay for prevention, not punishment.


Contributor: Mary McCandless - Council of Canadians Winnipeg Chapter Member

Categories: Voter Information

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