Saturday, June 13, 2009

Edmonton's plan to reduce crime Posted by Daniel in Editorial

A crime prevention report from Edmonton argues investing in after school programs may get taxpayers a bigger bang for their buck than simply hiring more police

While some cities cut funding to the arts and pour millions into the ballooning budgets of their police departments, one Canadian Mayor seems to be taking a radically different approach. As we previously wrote, Edmonton's mayor has just released a provocative report which is looking to fight crime in a non-traditional way. That is, he's not simply going to give his police department another blank cheque and ask them to go get the bad guys.

Last week, a 55 page report by the Edmonton Task Force on Community Safety was released to the public. Overall, the report focuses on getting at the root causes of crime before it happens. The $400K report commissioned by Mayor Stephen Mandel is proposing a number of initiatives to help further reduce Edmonton's crime rate. It should be noted that due mainly to demographics (the bad guys are getting older), the crime rates in most major urban centres in Canada has been in free-fall over the last decade. Despite this, urban taxpayers across Canada have been pouring hundreds of millions into city coffers in order to hire more police.

Let me first say that I think Mayor Mandel should be commended for engaging in this dialogue and for challenging the status quo when it comes to crime fighting. Not many mayors are prepared to say the solution to further reducing crime might not simply lie in providing his police department with more full time staff. There are a lot of mayors across Canada that could learn a thing or two from Mandel.

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