WHAT IS DEFUND2FUND?
The Defund2Fund Coalition represents approximately 15 groups and nearly 8,000 Calgarians who openly support a reduction of the Calgary Police Service 401 Million dollar annual budget, to be reallocated to our communities. The Community Safety Investment Framework we proposed was a modest first step to rebuild trust and to begin to rectify systemic barriers in the lives of Black, Indigenous, other racialized communities and 2SLGBTQ+ people.
Instead of addressing the root cases of crime, we over-police vulnerable people into antagonistic situations with police that all too often have tragic outcomes. Many of the social problems we awkwardly try to hammer into shape with policing can be addressed more gently, and more effectively, by social welfare programs, health care workers, social workers and by housing the unhoused.
WHY DEFUND CPS?
Intergenerational trauma caused by colonial practices, intertwined with ongoing poverty and racism, racialized communities tend to have disproportionately high interactions with crime and with police, particularly individuals in Indigenous and Black communities. For instance:
Indigenous people are 10 times more likely to be shot and killed by a police officer than a white person;
Indigenous people are 56 percent more likely to be victims of crime than other Canadians;
the rates of unemployment among Black, Arab and South Asian Canadians are almost double that of the general population;
Twenty-one percent of racialized Canadians live on low income, compared to only 12 percent of non-racialized Canadians; and
Indigenous people are twice as likely to experience hidden homelessness (e.g. couchsurfing) than non-Indigenous people.
While intergenerational trauma often leads to many of the risk factors associated with crime; crime is not the result of one particular thing. However, the more risk factors present in an individual’s life, the more likely they are to resort to crime for survival. These risk factors include the following:
low income, inadequate housing and lack of educational/employment opportunities
bullying, racism and discrimination, isolation/exclusion, addiction and disorders that affect impulsivity
the loss of a family member, parental dysfunction, domestic violence, abuse and neglect
There are also protective factors that, when present simultaneously with risk factors, can decrease the likelihood of criminal behaviour. This includes things like: positive, supportive and stable relationships with caring adults; adequate housing; access to health care and social services; parental employment and education. For example, one Canadian study showed that 83 percent of former inmates had not reoffended after one year when they had jobs.
Social inclusion is also critical to reducing crime -- when individuals feel a sense of belonging within their community, they are less likely to do harm to that community. If the City increases funding for services that foster inclusion and other protective factors, research shows that crime will go down.
There are a variety of existing programs provided by the city. Truly proactive community programs and reactive programs such as Police and Crisis Team and Alpha House’s DOAP Team that work alongside CPS address the needs of marginalized and vulnerable communities need more funding.
Right now, 27.6M dollars is spent on affordable housing, youth programs, community services and financial assistance in Calgary. With reallocation from the police budget, we can improve and expand these essential programs. These services provide assistance to individuals who have disabilities, members of the BIPOC community, seniors, and families.
WHAT COULD DEFUNDING LOOK LIKE?
1. To propose and implement a revision to the pre-approved Calgary Police Services budget in order to cut $235 million in accordance with the City of Calgary’s operating budget shortfall projections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. To prioritize the expansion of community-led health and safety initiatives (PaCT and DOAP) over future financial investment into the Calgary Police Services.
3. Remove school police and resource officers (SROs) in all schools (Public, Catholic, Private, and Post-Secondary)
4. A redistribution of funds into services that foster stronger communities, like investing in more accessible transit, affordable childcare and housing, and education and job training opportunities for young people.
5. Wards 5, 8, 9, 10 and 13 are underserved areas that require reassessment. Calgary is a diverse city. 36% of all residents are BIPOC. They deserve to feel safe and proud of their neighbourhoods.
6. Stop all new speciality weapons and munitions purchases/acquisitions including firearms, LRADs, teargas, etc.
7. Suspend the use of paid administrative leave for officers under investigation for any reason and publicize all previous officer complaints; immediate dismissal with no pension or payout of any officer with any excessive force and sexual misconduct complaints.
8. Institute decreases on starting salaries and implement salary caps.
9. Renegotiate areas of jurisdiction between CPS, municipal peace officers, provincial peace officers, and the RCMP to reduce redundancy.
10. Expansion of 211 to include neighbourhood-based crisis intervention and de-escalation trainings; mobile dispatch of these services available 24/7.
11. Create low-income housing, both single and family occupancy, built using universal design principles, housing for formerly incarcerated people finishing sentences in Calgary’s jails.