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.
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?
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.
To prioritize the expansion of community-led health and safety initiatives over future financial investment into the Calgary Police Services.
Remove school police and resource officers (SROs) in all schools (Public, Catholic, Private, and Post-Secondary)
Stop all new specialty weapons and munitions purchases/acquisitions including firearms, LRADs, teargas, etc.
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.
Institute decreases on starting salaries and implement salary caps.
Renegotiate areas of jurisdiction between CPS, municipal peace officers, provincial peace officers, and the RCMP to reduce redundancy.
Expansion of 211 to include neighbourhood-based crisis intervention and de-escalation training; mobile dispatch of these services available 24/7.