Yorkton Community Unity (YCU), a coalition of human service agencies working toward building a safer community through collaboration, had an opportunity to learn more about the provincial government’s Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime (BPRC) initiative last week.
At its quarterly luncheon September 19, YCU welcomed guest speakers Anita Ingram and Barb Rawluk, Ministry of Justice BPRC consultants.
At the heart of the BPRC philosophy is that the traditional approach to crime reduction, that is, suppression through law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration must work in concert with intervention and prevention.
Intervention includes services such as substance abuse treatment, education, employment and housing. Prevention encompasses information dissemination, public education and social supports.
There is a tendency, for a variety of reasons, for providers of these myriad services to work in silos. BPRC seeks to break the isolation.
Ingram and Rawluk focused a good deal of their presentation on the Community Mobilization: Prince Albert (CMPA) model, one of the more advanced and successful examples of implementing the BPRC philosophy.
The CMPA is basically a three-tiered approach that consists of a HUB (front-line services coalition), COR (community-level planning body) and oversight (high-level governance committee).
So far, Yorkton, along with three other Saskatchewan communities, is at the stage of having a HUB model in place. Five more communities are in the discussion stages with only Prince Albert having a full implementation in force.
The YCU is currently trying to turn the model into action as it finalizes its community work plan, which Andrew Sedley, a spokesperson for the coalition, said will hopefully dovetail with other community-wide initiatives such as the City of Yorkton’s strategic plan and the two area school divisions’ threat assessment protocol with an eye toward developing a safer, healthier city.
“A lot of times when we look at some of the big social issues in our community, they are the determinants of health, so improving education, decreasing poverty, enhancing housing accessibility,” he said. “Those sort of things all have a huge effect on reducing things like crime or truancy in schools or whatever it may be. By focusing on those bigger social determinants that’s where we’re going to see a lot of the issues in community decrease as well.”