Two major international conferences – 1989 in Montreal and 1991 in Paris, France – sponsored by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the United States Conference of Mayors, the European Forum for Urban Safety (EFUS), and the Montreal Urban Community sparked a new commitment to making cities safer by going beyond police, courts and corrections to invest in multi-sectoral (education, housing, youth and social services, health, etc.) efforts to address the causes of crime through prevention.
In 1993, the Horner Parliamentary Committee recommended that “the federal government, in cooperation with the provinces and municipalities, take on a national leadership role in crime prevention” and that “Canada should spend 5% of the current federal criminal justice budget on crime prevention.” Similar recommendations were made by the Bordeleau Committee for the Province of Quebec.
In 2003, 120 practitioners, elected officials, policy makers, and researchers came together for a National Symposium on Crime Prevention in Waterloo Region, Ontario, resulting in the development of the Agenda for a Safer Canada.
In 2006, the Institute for the Prevention of Crime (IPC) out of the University of Ottawa, with financial support from the National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC), invited key stakeholders from 14 Canadian municipalities to become part of what is now the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention. In 2007, in collaboration with CMNCP, the IPC published Making Cities Safer: The International Experience, an analysis of crime prevention strategies based on evidence from Canada and abroad.
In 2008, the IPC visited each CMNCP member community to identify successful crime prevention strategies for municipalities. This resulted in the development of a collaborative report entitled Making Cities Safer: Canadian Strategies and Practices, which outlines several important elements for achieving tangible, permanent results among municipal crime prevention efforts. These include: clear, strong, political will; sustained funding; a centre of responsibility for municipal crime prevention; a strategic plan; and ongoing public engagement.
In 2009, the IPC, in collaboration with CMNCP, developed several action briefs outlining concrete steps to encourage the prevention of crime. Topics covered in the briefs include: governance of municipal prevention efforts; services for youth, Indigenous populations, and women; urban planning; and law enforcement. IPC also facilitated a National Working Group on Crime Prevention that brought together national organizations and community practitioners who collectively recommended a greater investment in crime prevention through social development, including at the municipal level.
In 2015, CMNCP began a 3-year project entitled Building Municipal Capacity to Harness Evidence to Prevent Crime in partnership with crime prevention experts from the University of Ottawa, and with financial support and collaboration from the National Crime Prevention Centre. The project ended in September 2018 and its evaluation indicated that it significantly enhanced CMNCP’s capacity to be a community of practice and harness knowledge for crime prevention, much like other networks (e.g., EFUS) that have substantially advanced countries in their efforts to increase investments in prevention and make communities safer.
Following consistent growth in membership, in 2020 CMNCP became incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, representing over 50 communities across Canada and about 50% of the Canadian population. CMNCP continues to support its members to advance crime prevention, community safety, and well-being across Canada and is increasingly collaborating with international partners including UNODC, UN Habitat Safer Cities Programme, Peace in Our Cities, the German Forum on Urban Security, and EFUS.