Taking A Look At Crime Prevention, Part One, published October, 2013

“Hey councillor, there’s too many cops!  Just witnessed two officers arrest a young man already on his knees while six more officers came running in to the situation.”

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) is a reactive service often required to deal with violent situations.  WPS and its chief recognize it cannot solve the crime by themselves.  Proactive prevention services need just as much effort.  My view is the WPS cannot inheirently deliver direct prevention services requiring the City to examine other means of crime prevention to aleviate stress on the WPS resources.

Prevention requires the participation of all levels of government, social service entities and local people.  This update will be spread out over two Mynarski Ward updates.  First I will address police related efforts, and then, the next update will focus on Community Services.

The quickly rising, $175.798 million property tax supported police response budget makes it difficult for the City of Winnipeg to fund prevention services in our neighbourhoods.  The WPS spends $3.301 million on direct crime prevention programs.  The community policing budget is $20.224 million – not prevention.  However, community policing is partially about working with organizations in our neighbourhoods.  Both these property tax supported budgets are in addition to the response budget.

A pilot program aimed at prevention called North Star” at RB Russell high school was started by the Province of Manitoba and Winnipeg School Division.  Details go beyond this update, but you need to know the WPS is directly involved along with Child and Family Services, social service providers, and families.  Education is prevention, and I strongly agree attempts must be made to keep youth in school.

Arson has been a big problem in the Mynarski Ward.  The Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service (WFPS) budgets $996 thousand on education programs which include the Fire Stop Program”.  The WPS community policing officers can work with the WFPS to get into schools to do arson prevention work beyond dealing with individuals refered to Youth Fire Stop.

During my day to day work in the Mynarski Ward, some of the following organizations I work with have community policing officers in attendance providing support:

North Point Douglas Women’s Centre safety strategy meetings

Indian Metis Friendship Centre annual WPS feast

North End Cummunity Renewal Centre AGM and North End renewal strategy

William Whyte Resident’s Association arson and other neighbourhood consultations

The WPS bring women to shelters due to domestic violence. The justice system makes people involved in crime attend addiction centres right in the Mynarski Ward.  Both types of facilities have prevention components.

There are many other organizations doing prevention work in the Mynarski Ward and across the city.  Many do not receive direct City of Winnipeg support.  In the next update, I will examine the Community Services related budget of $42.242 million.  Much of what Community Services spends is generally for everyone’s recreation and leisure activities.