We’ve been in reflection mode this week at the WRCPC office. The time of year lends itself perfectly to this kind of ‘look back’ at the year that was 2014. I hope you are enjoying your own reflections. And, since we’re at it, why don’t we do some reflecting together, with the help of Smart on Crime.
We had such a variety of blog posts this year, ranging from what we were reading to crime stats, to special posts from Friends of Crime Prevention. Early in 2014, we wrapped up a year long examination of the root causes of crime. With the end of inREACH in Waterloo Region, we took some time to share what our community has learned from inREACH and engage our community in a follow up event in April where planned next steps. We even introduced you to some new words to enrich your vocabulary! And of course, we couldn’t help but challenge our community with some harder hitting posts.
Our readers are as diverse as our blog posts, which would explain the diversity of popular blogs this year. Here’s the round up of our top 14 posts from 2014.
- Public Opinion & Crime – Anthony Piscitelli
“Since 2006 the Canadian government has focused on being tough on crime. The policy approach continues to this day but it seems the Canadian public is starting to see these changes as a policy excess. Instead of focusing on punishment, public opinion polls suggest the government focus should be on prevention through education and social development programs.”
- Trent’s Trajectory: The dollars and $ense of crime prevention
- A new story is needed – guest post by Friend of Crime Prevention, Doug McKlusky
“As a Friend of Crime Prevention, I believe that that the heart of crime prevention is through social and community development…..
Imagine neighbourhoods where everyone feels a sense of belonging, where inclusion trumps fear.
Imagine workplaces where people belong, and where respect and collaboration trump power and politics.
Imagine schools where belonging trumps bullying and streaming.”
- The new story continues…. – guest post by Friend of Crime Prevention, Doug McKlusky
“I do believe that many small actions will add up to a large action on the road to building a community of belonging. It can be as simple as acknowledging the presence of a homeless person in downtown Kitchener, they are part of our community, a friendly smile goes a long way in making a person feel like they belong. I challenge you to do something to make our community a community of belonging, smile at a stranger, volunteer somewhere in your community, it will make a difference, it will connect you!”
- Inspired by inREACH: Reflections of a youth outreach worker – Youth Outreach Worker, Krista McCann
“inREACH fostered a working environment that not only allowed us, but encouraged us to work outside of the box. I’d be lying to say the task was not daunting at first. In my previous experience working as a Youth Worker I had never been given such flexibility and confidence within a position to achieve the desired outcome; an outcome that was not based on the amount of programs ran or number of program participants but the ability to engage youth in their community.”
- Neighbourhood policing: A learning opportunity for Friends of Crime Prevention – WRCPC Student, Ryan Maharaj
“To usher in 2014, WRCPC hosted a learning event on ‘Neighbourhood Policing’. Naturally, Friends of Crime Prevention & WRCPC have a common interest with the police on all things related to crime prevention, community safety and well-being. Inspector Kevin Thaler from the Waterloo Regional Police Service was our guest to unveil the recent sweeping changes to their organizational structure, daily operations and dispatch methods. The results are what is now known as Neighbourhood Policing.”
- Between life and death: Responding to drug overdoses in Canada – former WRCPC student, Kayla Follet
This article appeared in the July 14, 2014 edition of the Waterloo Region Record.
- By the numbers: Wading through police-reported crime statistics 2013 – Anthony Piscitelli
“Statistics Canada released their annual Police-reported crime statistics 2013 report in July (and in French). There is always so much to sift through and interpret. But here’s a beginning summary of the highlights from the Canadian Criminal Justice Association.”
- By the numbers: Hate crimes in Waterloo Region – Anthony Piscitelli
“In 2009, the Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo census metropolitan area (CMA) had the highest hate crime rate in Canada, according to police reported statistics. Did you catch the end of that sentence? “…..according to police reported statistics”. It might seem insignificant, but it might be the key to understanding why the 2009 hate crime rate in Waterloo Region is so high compared to other CMAs in Canada. “
- No clichés: A reflection on working with the youth of inREACH – guest post by Karl Garner
“Having been with inREACH, it became quite evident, that the youth we worked with often experienced clichés in their lives. They were labeled, stereotyped, and their behaviours were often predicted by the adult world around them, yet most of the time no one knew anything about them. Outside of where they lived, or who they hung out with, or the school they went to, or perhaps what they look like, do many even know these youth? The label which is the umbrella they live under is their cliché.”
- Ignoring what we’ve learned. Or, how to ensure street gangs become a real problem in Waterloo Region – Ryan Maharaj
“It’s easy to assume that we should apply what we’ve learned from the inREACH project to better support marginalized youth in our community. But have you every stopped to wonder, what happens if we ignore what we’ve learned? What if we shed the rose-coloured glasses and donned the shades of pessimism to see the barriers that stand in our way? What if we tried to see the glass half empty? How can we make a problem like street gangs in Waterloo Region, worse?”
- The community weighs in on the root causes of crime: change and action – Dianne Heise
“How do we get at the root causes of crime and prevent it from happening in the first place?
This isn’t a direct, straight answer, but, the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council believes part of the solution is to monitor the root causes of crime over time. Then we, as a community, can better understand and address the social, community and economic conditions associated with crime and victimization. Check out the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council’s report – A Snapshot in Time: The Root Causes of Crime in Waterloo Region to find out how we are doing in early childhood development, employment, community trust and other important indicators.”
….. and part 2 of The community weighs in on the root causes of crime: change and action
- Why communities need neighbourhood-based programming for youth – guest post by Courtney Didier, Alison Neighbourhood Community Centre
“We have worked with youth who have great dreams and aspirations for the future, but have trouble putting their vision into a workable plan. On the other side of the coin, we have worked with youth who have little to no confidence in their abilities, thus requiring a little more encouragement and a little more trial and error in determining what really gets them motivated and excited.”
- Lessons learned in a gang project – Dianne Heise and Rohan Thompson
“Gang Prevention Is…. a) addressing underlying issues, and, b) not about getting a kid to take off the bandana. We often heard – “we’ve got this kid, he’s in a gang – fix him.” So often in our case management and system navigation work, it wasn’t about getting this young person to take off his bandana or to stop hustling or whatever, we never approached the work in that fashion. But it was about the underlying issues and working on them. Mostly we were dealing with issues of poverty, untreated trauma, family breakdown, substance abuse, disengagement and lack of opportunities. These are the problems that young people and gang members and people in general are dealing with. We want to demystify that label of gang member that says their needs are different than any other groups. These same issues are the drivers behind the behaviours.”
So many great reads from 2014. But if you’re in the mood for something to watch, rather than read, might I suggest our newest video on Collaboration!
We look forward to bringing more great Smart on Crime blogs for you in 2015. Better yet, we love hearing your comments, reactions and responses to the posts and guest commentaries. We look forward to hearing more from you next year!