The Okanagan Indian Band is better prepared to get at the root of crime, thanks to $1.17 million in federal support.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, alongside OKIB Chief Byron Louis and other representatives of the band announced Thursday funds will be made available by the federal government to support a five-year comprehensive safety strategy in their community targeted towards at-risk young people. The strategy, focused on youth violence prevention, will included a community mobilization framework and direct intervention for youths and their families using a client-centred, strength-based approach.
“We know that when it comes to crime prevention, there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Goodale. “The Okanagan Indian Band’s approach is youth-centred, with a community capacity-building component that will help reduce and prevent youth violence, making our communities safer and ensuring more young people have the opportunity to succeed.”
The projects will use new and innovative approaches to crime prevention that seek to expand partnerships, engage more indigenous communities and include more experts in addressing the gaps and challenges in reaching vulnerable communities.
“The Okanagan Indian Band recognizes and acknowledges that the emphasis on crime prevention and awareness is proactive, rather than reactive,” said Louis. “The goal of a proactive approach to crime prevention is to move from being driven by crime to moving towards preemptive efforts to target problems. This change in focus will necessitate the identification and implementation via community driven, strength-based approaches.
“With today’s announcement, we are moving towards reconciliation that will hopefully lead to a growing partnership with all levels of government on eliminating the social factors that lead to crime here in our community.”
New partners are being engaged with a focus on Indigenous communities, rural populations, and black youth. The projects include both direct interventions to help those at-risk, and initiatives to build community capacity for crime prevention.
Goodale also said that the federal government is making available up to $94 million over five years to develop “inclusive, diverse and culturally adapted“ crime prevention projects across Canada.