Municipal Crime Prevention

Municipalities have a key role to play in reducing crime and enhancing community safety. This report examines themes and challenges facing 14 municipalities in Canada in their efforts to implement and sustain evidence-based community safety and crime prevention initiatives. It also identifies guiding principles for all orders of government that will assist municipalities in these efforts.

The Municipal Network has identified a set of guiding principles that will enhance efforts to reduce crime and victimization and improve community safety. A major challenge to implementing and sustaining coordinated initiatives that was identified in this review is the lack of coordination among levels of government in setting priorities and funding programs that target root causes of crime. As a result, the guiding principles focus on municipal, provincial and federal governments and coordination among them:

Guiding Principles
Actions For:
Municipalities Provincial/Territorial Governments Federal Government
Establish responsibility centres at all orders of government Implement permanent local responsibility centres (where none currently exist) to coordinate crime prevention and community safety initiatives with other local priorities and services. Develop permanent responsibility centres in each province and territory that would coordinate policies as well as foster networking and implementation of knowledge and best practices. Establish an independent, national responsibility centre to provide direct support for program development and to act as a clearinghouse for disseminating tools and knowledge about what works to prevent crime.
Address priorities at the local and community level Develop community safety policies that reflect the commitment of leadership and coordination among all municipal departments and local agencies.

Ensure that crime prevention and community safety are integrated within all municipal services and priorities, including social and recreational planning and police services.
Develop provincial crime prevention and community safety policies that reflect and recognize the key role of municipal and regional authorities and the importance of adapting programs to local needs. Collaborate with provincial and municipal governments to ensure that policies, programs, and services that address the risk factors for crime are delivered in a coherent manner and are reflective of local needs.
Effective use of knowledge and data Use data, research and other information through a problem solving model to:

  • diagnose local crime and safety challenges and community assets;
  • develop an action plan that sets priorities and addresses risk factors through best practices;
  • implement the action plan; and
  • evaluate and monitor the process and impacts.
Fund development and analysis at universities to assist municipalities in using data effectively to understand local crime and safety problems and appropriate targets for action.

Develop diagnostic and evaluation tools and make them available to municipal governments and community organizations. Provide technical assistance on: a) how to use these tools; and, b) the delivery of effective programs.
Fund data collection tools required for safety diagnoses and indicators, such as victimization surveys, self-report surveys and geographic mapping of crime and social data.

Fund demonstration projects and build the knowledge base through project evaluations. Funding needs to be sustainable and simplified.
Sustained funding for targeted programs and networking Ensure strong leadership and commitment at senior orders of government and create governance structures that will ensure sustainability during times of political and environmental change. Provide financial support for the work of municipal governments in forging strong working partnerships and in coordinating and delivering programs directed at local needs. In cooperation with the provinces and territories, provide financial support for municipal governments.
Public engagement Actively facilitate the formation of community partnerships and recognize the expertise of community organizations.

Mobilize and enhance the capacity of communities to identify and respond to local problems by building on strengths and assets and addressing risk factors.
Fund workshops and conferences at the local level aimed at developing and improving partnerships and public engagement in crime prevention activities. Work with other orders of government and the voluntary and private sectors to develop a national framework for inter-sectoral collaboration for crime prevention and community safety.