All British Columbians deserve to feel safe in their homes and neighbourhoods. Investments in the provincial anti-gang strategy, community safety and policing have been successful in driving down crime in B.C. – with youth and violent crime at historical lows – but more needs to be done.
A $5-million investment over the next two years to enhance community safety will build on that success by addressing three priority areas:
- Targeting prolific, violent and gang-affiliated offenders.
- Getting tough on the roots of crime through education and outreach.
- Strengthening safety for First Nation communities and vulnerable women.
“Our Guns and Gangs strategy is making progress in shutting down gang activity throughout B.C. - it has provided police with tools to help them investigate, charge and disrupt gangs," said Premier Christy Clark at the 2015 Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention. "But violence continues to confront us, so we must do more to protect innocent bystanders and other victims of gang violence. That's why we are investing an additional $5 million on behalf of British Columbians.”
As this investment rolls out over the next two years, some of the specific programs the Province is exploring include a gang-exit program, increased investments in education and outreach projects focused on at-risk and Aboriginal youth, and community-focused crime prevention.
“With B.C.’s violent crime rate trending downward over the last decade, we want to make sure that we keep our foot on the pedal to catch criminals, rehabilitate offenders and do everything we can to keep B.C. communities safe,” said Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton. “This is an issue that requires the engagement of many partners, including British Columbians. I urge those who have information about criminal activity to come forward to police.”
To further tackle crime, the Province will also launch a regional, integrated community safety pilot project, which will bring together local government and non-government agencies. Through this pilot, the Province will prioritize community safety goals, focus resources and programs accordingly, and measure and evaluate the outcomes.
“Community safety is a partnership – this investment will advance a more integrated approach between the Province, local governments, police, and community organizations,” said Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender. “We are working collaboratively to drive down crime and protect our communities – and in particular, our youth – from criminal activity.”
- Approximately $60 million a year is provided to the RCMP for the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) and anti-gang initiatives. This supports front-line efforts to keep young people out of gangs and remove gangsters, their associates and illegal weapons from our streets.
- The civil forfeiture program helps keep our communities safe and contributes to a Violence Free BC by targeting the profit motive behind unlawful activity, and benefits victims of crime. Since 2011-12, more than $3.2 million in civil forfeiture grants have gone to helping prevent youth involvement in gangs in communities throughout B.C.
- Government provides more than $70 million per year for prevention and intervention services and programs to help B.C. families involved in domestic violence and other crimes.
B.C. civil forfeiture grants take away the proceeds from crime and give them back to the community:
The Violence Free BC strategy is a roadmap, combining immediate actions with a long-term vision to end violence against women: