The best way to combat crime is through prevention, Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen said at the Ontario Chiefs of Police (OACP) annual crime prevention campaign launch at Toronto Police headquarters on March 13.
“Public awareness is one important tool for preventing victimization because while we need entire communities to engage in the business of preventing crime, it really does start with each and every one of us as individuals,” he said. “Everyone needs to ask themselves: ‘what can I do to prevent crime and what can I do to help myself and my family from being victimized.’”
Pedersen, the OACP community safety and crime prevention co-chair, said crime prevention today is so much more than locks and alarms, although those are important.
“It’s so much more than asking your neighbour to watch your house and pick up newspapers, although those are important,” he said. “It is about situational measures and it is also about those social development measures as we combat things like the opioid crisis, like the risks associated with cannabis and with crimes such as human trafficking. We know that building community capacity and supports and that working together are the way forward.”
OACP Chair Bryan Larkin said policing must evolve in the same way communities are.
“Naturally, that involves the way in which we manage crime, the way we investigate crimes and how we actually prevent crimes,” said the Waterloo Regional Police Chief. “Crime prevention is not a policing and law enforcement responsibility. It’s a community responsibility and we need everybody working together to collaborate and to move forward to prevent crime.”
“We know it’s much more effective and long-lasting if we prevent it upstream and if we actually prevent those who are jumping off the cliff from doing so. We know that we need change and we need to work with our business partners, our community partners, our school system, and our public health educators, as well as our citizens.”