Two major international conferences in Montreal in 1989 and Paris, France in 1991, sponsored by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the United States Conference of Mayors, the European Forum for Urban Saftety, and the Montreal Urban Community sparked a new commitment to make cities safer by going beyond police, courts and corrections to invest in actions by sectors, such as schools, housing, youth and social services, health and so on to tackle 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, which agreed on an Agenda for a Safer Canada.
In 2006, the Institute for the Prevention of Crime (IPC) 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 the CMNCP, the IPC published “Making Cities Safer: The International Experience”, an analysis of crime prevention strategies based on evidence from across Canada and abroad.
In 2008, the IPC visited each CMNCP member and produced a collaborative report entitled “Making Cities Safer: Canadian Strategies and Practices”, which outlined successful crime prevention strategies in each municipality. In order to achieve tangible, permanent results at the municipal level, the CMNCP agreed: the importance of a clear, strong political will; ongoing funding; a centre of municipal responsibilities for crime prevention; a strategic plan; and the importance of public engagement.
In 2009, the IPC, in collaboration with the CMNCP, developed Action Briefs plans that outlined concrete steps that would encourage the prevention of crime. These included five short Action Briefs for good governance of municipal actions integrated into prevention. Another five short Action Briefs focused on services for youth, Indigenous populations, women, as well as urban planning, and law enforcement. At the same time, IPC also facilitated a National Working Group on Crime Prevention that brought together national organizations organizations with community practitioners which collectively recommended a greater investment in crime prevention through social development including at the municipal level.
In 2015, CMNCP started a 3 year project to “Build Municipal Capacity to Harness Evidence to Prevent Crime“. This CMNCP project is in partnership with crime prevention expertise from the University of Ottawa, and with the financial support and collaboration of the National Crime Prevention Centre. The project is expected to significantly enhance the CMNCP’s capacity to be a community of practice and harness the knowledge for crime prevention similarly to other networks such as the European Forum for Urban Safety that have substantially advanced countries in their quest to increase investments in prevention and make communities safer.