In an effort to go beyond the crime headlines, battlefordsNOW is taking a look at some of the initiatives that are ongoing in the community to reduce crime. Part two of our series looks at how chronic repeat offenders and those with chronic social conditions affect policing in the Battlefords.
As the Battleford’s RCMP Crime Prevention Victims Services Unit (CP/VS) continues to address the community’s needs and priorities to reduce crime in the region, the unit has identified community outreach and engagement are the keys to improving safety in the Battlefords and surrounding areas.
One such area where this will be pivotal according to Cpl. James Fenrich of Battlefords RCMP is with people-oriented strategies such as chronic repeat offenders.
“We know that chronic repeat offenders whether adult or youth are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime,” Fenrich said. “The impact of this to community safety whether social services, health services and the criminal justice system is immense.”
As Fenrich points out, many of these offenders repeatedly end up in the Battleford’s jail. He explained evidence from other jurisdictions shows that their offending behaviors are driven by certain risk factors associated with substance abuse, lack of housing and employment, and other unmet needs.
“Research supports the view that success with even a small number of chronic repeat offenders can result in reductions in their offending and have a significant return on investment,” Fenrich added. “And we start seeing results when we target the offender’s risk and protective factors as well as work with social services, health and other agencies and the offender’s family.”
Fenrich said to achieve these goals, the CP/VS need to develop and create meaningful consultation, communication collaboration and commitment with the communities with the ultimate goal of resolving crime and or community safety issues.
“There are areas that we need to address in order to create a solid foundation for this strategy and every one of them needs input from the community,” Fenrich said.
The first is to engage community members in identifying specific problem areas and collectively developing community led police supported sustainable responses to crime.
“We know that the CP/VS have to be a catalyst in establishing a community consultative group,” he added. “This will allow the community to address issues in an ongoing and sustainable way.”
He also reiterated that the strategy needs to educate and assist key community stakeholders in utilization the most recent crime prevention and crime reduction strategies as well as provide the community members and opportunity to identify and discuss their crime and safety concerns with their local police if this is going to be successful.
“The Battleford Detachment of the RCMP is dedicated to community safety but we cannot do it alone,” he said. “If we all work together we can achieve the crime reduction and safe community we all want to see in the Battlefords area.”
On Twitter: @RJWtheReporter
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