Crime prevention program Community Mobilization Prince Albert is now expanding its online presence, launching a website to encourage the community to learn more about the program.
Now, Mobilizepa.ca and Saskbprc.com will be the tools available for the community.
“It allows for ongoing and consistent messaging to keep people informed…someone can go and register and login and have interactive communication with, say, a member of the CMPA in Prince Albert could have a discussion with someone in Lloydminster about best practices, what’s working and what’s not,” said Drew Wilby with the province’s Ministry of Corrections and Policing.
Prince Albert’s crime prevention strategy was first launched a couple of years ago, and its successes have led other communities to take notice.
The strategy was simple, focusing on prevention rather than stopping crime, said Matt Gray with (CMPA) Community Mobilization Prince Albert.
“That’s what we did before. Somebody would call the police and we would go. Somebody would call social services and we would go. Now what we’re doing is we’re trying to get, before the tragedy, before the incident where somebody’s falling into crisis, and then recognizing the risk factors and intervening before something bad happens.”
While the idea behind CMPA is simple, execution takes hard work.
CMPA is a combination of the HUB, which combines forces in the community to recognize the risks and COR (Centre of Responsibility), which assesses strategies to deal with those risks.
The groups involved range from police to social services and health care professionals. The past two years have been busy as the HUB has reached out to new community-based organizations in Prince Albert.
“We’ve been establishing some trust within the community with these groups that traditionally we weren’t too directly involved in. But now rather than just speaking with these agencies we’re speaking with people and getting to know the people within those agencies and making those connections,” said Gray.
Since being announced in 2011, the strategy has seen a drastic reduction in crime, particularly in its first year.
Over time, Gray has noticed the importance of nipping things in the bud. Something as simple as a child skipping class could be masking bigger problems.
It's driven home the team's goal of catching problem behavior and finding its cause before it turns into something worse, such as crime.
The word has been spreading through the province as communities like North Battleford, Yorkton and Moose Jaw have adopted the HUB concept.
After adopting the HUB program based on ideas learned in Scotland, past police chief Dale McFee and Sgt. Brent Kalinowski have both moved onto roles with the province.
Its success has even made national news, but since then crime conferences have gained international attention.
“There’s interest in the success they’ve been having from around the world. So, the deputy minister of corrections was speaking in Ottawa, I believe, on the initiative and there was a group from Abu Dhabi who expressed interest in what we were doing and how it might apply to their jurisdiction. As well, we know Texas is interested,” said Wilby.
Kalinowski understands why.
“If you can intervene early that’s like paying 10 cents to save a dollar. So if you could do that and you start to see some of the numbers we’ve been seeing you’re going to see interest from all over the place,” he said.
Kalinowski recognizes how far the HUB and other initiatives have gone since their humble beginnings.
“We should be very proud that it started, not only in the province but right here in Prince Albert. We had some great leaders, not only had, but there still are some very good community leaders that have taken this challenge on to think differently and to collaborate and really embrace the fundamental difference in the way we did things before.”
On Twitter: @chelsealaskowsk
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