Friday, February 15, 2019

Invest more in young people and communities, not police to enhance safety


CPEP launches #NOPE / No Ottawa Police Expansion infographics series, joining others in the community demanding the City of Ottawa invest in young people and communities to enhance safety

February 15, 2019 - Earlier this month, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) tabled its budget for 2019, which includes a "net incremental operating budget increase of $12.2 million", amounting to a "police tax increase of 3%" from 2018. The OPS budget also includes plans to raid municipal reserves for one-time funding allocations to off-set their budgetary shortfalls, a measure which Mayor Jim Watson has proposed should be limited so that more investments can be made in things like affordable housing. The Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP) is joining others in the community who are demanding the City of Ottawa invest more in young people, families and communities, not police to enhance safety. To this end, CPEP has launched a #NOPE / No Ottawa Police Expansion infographics series to raise awareness about alternative ways to spend $12 million in 2019 to build safer and healthier communities across our city.

Infographic 1 - "Families & Youth
Infographic 2 - "Health"
Infographic 3 - "Housing"
Infographic 4 - "Jobs"
Infographic 5 - "Restorative Justice"

Audrey Monette, crime prevention consultant and Master’s student in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa, argues that if City Council approves an OPS budget increase they're missing an opportunity to tackle violence more effectively. She notes, “For every dollar the municipality invests upstream in prevention initiatives, they’ll save up to $7 in costs incurred by police, courts, corrections, and victims themselves when a crime takes place. This has been said before, but it bears repeating - investing upstream is more effective in preventing victimization, improving community safety outcomes, and saving taxpayers’ money”.

Justin Piché, co-founder of the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project, adds: "I agree with OPS Chief Charles Bordeleau when he says "we can't arrest out way out of this issue. But there's a broader and deeper conversation that we need to have". We're not having enough of these conversations that lead to investments in our young people, families and communities that'll actually reduce violence. If we tolerate this, our children will be next. We can't leave it to them to fix this. We've got the know-how to address this now and the solutions are in investments in our young people today and in the years to come, not more boots on the ground and police militarization".

Those interested in supporting greater investments in young people and communities are encouraged to phone the offices of the Mayor and City Councillors or write letters (for an example - see the template provided by Grassroots Blackburn-Orléans) telling them #NOPE / No Ottawa Police Expansion. Ottawa residents can also attend the 20 February 2019 meeting of the Finance and Audit Committee (2:30pm, Colonel By Room, City Hall / 110 Laurier Avenue West) and the 25 February 2019 meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board (4:00pm, Champlain Room, Heritage Building, City Hall / 110 Laurier Avenue West) to voice their concerns.

Contact to arrange media interviews: 
Justin Piché, PhD 
Associate Professor, Criminology, University of Ottawa 
613-793-1093 /

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