Brandon’s police chief hopes the province will make good on a plan to expand a crime reduction strategy beyond Winnipeg.
While the program — which has the goal to reduce crime in Winnipeg’s North End — is a pilot project at this point, Brandon Police Service Chief Ian Grant said he expects such a strategy could benefit Brandon and Westman.
"I would think that would be a very beneficial program for the rest of Manitoba, as do my fellow chiefs of police," Grant told the city’s police board on Wednesday during one of its regular meetings.
Grant said the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police is pressing for a meeting with provincial Justice Minister Andrew Swan and it wants the province to get on board when it comes to the concept of community mobilization.
As an example of that concept, Grant pointed to the The Block by Block Community Safety Initiative in Winnipeg.
The three-year pilot program was unveiled last month by Premier Greg Selinger, Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz and police Chief Devon Clunis.
It’s goal is to reduce crime in a 21-block area in that city’s North End. The long-term goal is to expand the program to other parts of the province.
The idea is for police to work with social agencies — such as school divisions or Child and Family Services — to connect potential offenders or victims with supports before they find themselves involved in a situation that requires a police response.
The province will spend $600,000 on the Winnipeg project.
During a break in Wednesday’s Brandon police board meeting, Grant said community agencies work together under the community mobilization approach.
Currently, police may find themselves responding to the same situation time and again when an individual’s difficulties erupt into a need for a police response. The community approach, however, helps people address the root causes of their difficulties and find longterm solutions.
A similar program in Prince Albert, Sask., has been credited with a drop in police calls, violent crime, domestic violence and crimes against young people.
Grant said that program is now being introduced to other parts of Saskatchewan.
The Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police would like to see the same thing happen in this province, Grant said.
"As much as we applaud the provincial government for doing this in the 21-block area in Winnipeg, there’s other jurisdictions in the province that could definitely benefit from this model," Grant said.
That includes Brandon and Westman, he said.
Such a program would have to be tailored to each community as each has its own set of challenges, Grant said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 5, 2013