It's Crime Prevention Week in Ontario. Every November, community agencies, organizations, police departments, municipalities and citizens come together to raise awareness of crime prevention as a builidng block for creating vibrant, dynamic, safe and healthy communities. "Engaged communities are safer communities" is this year's theme! We couldn't agree more!
By now you've likely heard, read or seen the tragic story of Amanda Todd who committed suicide a few weeks after posting a video of her using flash cards to describe the torment she faced as a result of being initially cyber-bullied which then overflowed to actual violence. She made the mistake, as many young people do, of sending a picture of herself (sexting) which was then used to basically blackmail her into other unwanted activities. She trusted the wrong people who used her innocence against her.
I wish this were a fairy tale but sadly, it's all too true. Every so often my white bread world is, to quote a British friend, "gobsmacked" (shaken, astonished, shocked) and this was the case recently when I attended a workshop on the issue of human trafficking in Canada. The event was sponsored by the Downtown East Project and hosted by the Steps to Change Diversion Program.
For those interested in crime prevention the last couple weeks have certainly given many reasons for reflection. The recent shootings in Toronto at a neighbourhood party resulting in 2 deaths, the shootings at the Eaton Centre and those that are reported regularly in the press certainly make one think that violence and crime rates are on the rise.
Crime costs Canadians. It reaches deep into our wallets and our overall quality of life. And who is doing most of this spending? Mainly victims. When we crunch the cost of policing, corrections and courts, we’re looking at $31.4 billion in 2008. For pain and suffering, we’re looking at $68.2 billion.
I read with some dismay that the parliamentary committee created to hear submissions on the Government of Canada's omnibus crime bill, often referred to as C-10, allowed only five minutes per submission. Five minutes to outline the deep and myriad concerns with this bill. Your time would be up shortly after the introductions.
Fulfilling an election promise, the Government of Canada recently introduced the “Safe Streets and Communities Act” or Bill C-10. If passed, Bill C-10 would significantly amend the Canadian Criminal Code and related legislation. C-10 is an omnibus bill that includes nine pieces of proposed legislation covering changes from mandatory minimum sentences to tougher penalties for selected crimes.
This is the final blog post in the victims of crime series. This post points you to helpful resources and links for agencies that support victims of crime in Waterloo Region.
The first three posts included:
This is the third in a series of blog posts regarding victims of crime in Canada. In the second post I mentioned the importance of root causes of crime and building resiliency. This blog looks at the consequences of being a victim of crime and some of the issues they experience.