Manitoba Liberals Will Launch “Safe Place” Program to Build Safer Communities

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


WINNIPEG – A Manitoba Liberal Government will keep Manitobans safer, prevent crime, and improve community safety by launching “Safe Place” programs so people at risk can find a safe place to go, 24 hours a day, as well as a Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) to reduce gang violence and help those involved with gangs live a life free from crime.


“Whether the PCs or the NDP were in power, the response to Manitoba’s crime rate hasn’t worked. Meth-driven crime is skyrocketing and too many people are living in fear in their own homes,” said Lamont. “A Manitoba Liberal Government is committed to using proven techniques that will drive the crime rate down by preventing crime and steering people to safety before they get into trouble.”


A Manitoba Liberal Government will work in partnership with municipalities and community organizations by investing in:  

- 24-hour safe spaces for kids with accessible recreational programs, especially to divert young people away from gangs

- 24-hour safe spaces for people experiencing domestic violence 

- 24-hour warming facilities for people who are homeless


For people who are vulnerable, of any age, it often feels like people have nowhere to go during times of crisis. Accessible community supports are the key to ensuring safe communities. Winnipeg’s extreme weather can make it even more difficult for our most vulnerable.


The funding for the programs can come entirely from the federal government’s crime prevention fund, which the PCs left untapped. Manitoba Liberals estimate the cost of implementing this plan at 5-million dollars.


In addition, Manitoba Liberals will set up a number for people to text that will automatically send them the location of the closest safe place. 


The “Safe Places” are a one element of a “public health” approach to preventing and reducing crime — which is to treat incidents of crime as “outbreaks” that can be contained and prevented from happening again. Glasgow, Scotland, was the murder capital of Europe until a public health approach to crime prevention was introduced. The murder rate was reduced by 50% and other crimes were reduced by 30%.


The other aspect of the public health approach is the creation of a Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). This is a community-centered project that provides supportive services for people who want to turn their lives around.


“The PCs have sat idly while a meth-driven crime wave has overwhelmed Winnipeg police and the NDP are silent,” said Lamont. “We are the only party offering concrete solutions to drive the crime rate down.” 

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Backgrounder


There needs to be a shift in understanding the root causes of the problem and what a resilient long-term solution might look like.

Under NDP and PC governments, crime and incarceration have sky rocketed. The PCs have denied, delayed, and dragged their feet as the meth epidemic has ravaged communities. Now that there's an election, they are promising to act. This is the same party that promised it would protect frontline workers and not cut health care services in the last election. They have not acted in three years and there is no reason we should believe them now. 

Crime and violence is preventable, not inevitable. Manitobans have lived with the fear of violent crime in our community for far too long. Winnipeg has often earned the dubious title of violent crime and homicide capital of Canada, and rural crime has sky rocketed while resources dwindle. Police, working alone, have a limited capacity to prevent crime.

Crime is incredibly complex, and requires a diverse and coordinated approach by governments, citizens, community organizations, police and others who work within our criminal justice systems. This involves coordinated efforts on homelessness, poverty, mental health, justice, and education. It also involves having everyone at the table. 

The Liberal Plan for meth and addictions featured the development of drug stabilization units, so that those experiencing meth psychosis have safe places to go to detox. This plan takes this one step further, with places to go for all of Manitoba’s vulnerable populations.

Supporting and expanding 24 hour safe spaces


Anyone who has been vulnerable knows that often it feels like people have nowhere to go during times of crisis. Accessible community supports are the key to ensuring safe communities. Winnipeg’s extreme weather can make it even more difficult for our most vulnerable.

Youth in our CFS systems are consistently the highest rate of missing persons in Manitoba; some of them never come home. Those struggling with addictions have nowhere to turn when they want to seek treatment and those who face violence at home feel trapped in their circumstances. Crisis don’t work around a 9 to 5 schedule — and neither should community supports.

Manitoba Liberals would support the creation of 24 hour warming facilities for our homeless, 24 hour safe spaces for kids, and 24 hour safe spaces for people experiencing domestic violence. 


Support and participation in the homelessness reduction strategy.


The Pallister government has abandoned its obligations to the Homelessness Reduction Strategy by not even coming to the table. Without the partnership of the province this type of coordination becomes difficult and even impossible to make the holistic changes that are needed to address one of our most vulnerable populations.


CIRV 


The Community Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV) is a multi-agency gang intervention program designed to reduce gang violence and help those involved in gangs to live a life free of crime.

The program has been successful in Boston and Cincinnati in the USA, and in Glasgow. The Northamptonshire CIRV project is the first time the program has been run in England.

CIRV works with gang members to show them the consequences of the life they are choosing to lead and offering them an alternative pathway through mentoring, support, job opportunities and other change programs.  


One of CIRV’s key tools is a self-referral session, where gang members are addressed by people including police officers, doctors who treat serious injuries, ex-gang members and relatives of people killed by gang-related violence.


The session, delivered in a court room, is designed to show participants the negative consequences of the life they are currently leading, and show them how they can choose and be supported to live free of violence and drugs.


Anyone can use the CIRV service — whether that is someone who needs help themselves to get out of ‘gang life’ or someone who is concerned about someone else. 


https://www.northants.police.uk/police-forces/northamptonshire-police/areas/northamptonshire-force-content/about-us/about-us/cirv/

https://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/manitobas-hasnt-tapped-82-of-special-crime-fund-511584162.html


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