In opinion polls, Canadians consistently express concerns about crime. Police services will agree that they are neither mandated nor resourced to carry out vigorous, integrated crime prevention programs. The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) has taken the position put forward by its Crime Prevention Committee that effective crime prevention requires sustainable social development, rooted in and owned by the community. The social, economic and familial causes of criminal behaviour must be identified and remedial action undertaken at the community level. While police services, in their role as law enforcers and credible spokespersons on community safety, will likely be involved in crime prevention, they should champion and support, not lead.
In 2004, the CACP sought funding under the Crime Prevention Partnership Program of the National Crime Prevention Strategy to develop a coalition of national organizations not traditionally involved in community safety to promote the concept of crime prevention through social development. This objective was supported formally by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Canadian Association of Police Boards, and the Canadian Professional Police Association and informally by the Canadian Council on Social Development and Family Service Canada. In March 2005, a contribution agreement was signed between Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and the CACP.
The CACP committed, over a two-year period:
- To establish a national Coalition on Community Safety, Health and Well-being;
- To develop and implement a public awareness strategy to build support for community-owned approaches to crime prevention through social development; and
- To demonstrate through communications and special events how Canadian communities have made strides in achieving public safety by taking a crime prevention through social development approach.