Last night I put together a "Grocery Store Stand" for my four-year old granddaughter. I had difficulty, not because I hadn't been engaged in a similar activity for about 25 years, reading with weary eyes "Easy to Follow" directions written for MIT grads. No, I had a hard time because I would have tears in my eyes thinking of the parents in Newtown, Connecticut who would not be prying open boxes, assembling bikes and bridges and stores and castles, assembling what would be the joyous shouts of discovery, of Christmas.
When the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council talks about everyone having a role to place in crime prevention, we really do mean EVERYONE, including doctors and all health care providers!
Being tough on crime often means talking about keeping criminals off the street, protecting the rights of victims and deterring offenders from either offending in the first place, or re-offending upon release. All of these things, however laudable, sound great on talk radio.
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.
As an educator I used to dread August because of all the back to school ads. Why were we rushing summer? Now that the ads have officially begun I guess it's time to think about how schools can advance the work of the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council and its community partners in informing the public and creating momentum for keeping communities safe and thriving. I'm not proposing yet another "add-on" to an overburdened school system that is sometimes seen as the place to solve society's ills.
Guest blog post from Fanis Juma Radstake
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.
The Interrupters, has been getting a LOT of press lately. That's not why I'm writing about it here as the 'Smart Link of the Day'. I'm writing about this film because it showcases the absolutely innovative approach of Chicago's Ceasefire program to curb gun related shootings and killings in that city.