Crime prevention is a shared responsibility in all our communities

MANITOULIN—This week, November 1 to 7, is Crime Prevention Week in Ontario with Manitoulin Island forces focusing on a shared theme of ‘working together.’

The Ontario Provincial (OPP) theme is ‘Working Together to Improve Community Safety and Well-Being–A Shared Commitment in Ontario’ while the United Chiefs and Councils of Manitoulin (UCCM) Anishnaabe Police theme for 2015 is ‘Working Together for a Safer Community,’ with plenty of events planned.

For the OPP, the theme encourages combined efforts of police, government and communities to work together to address concerns, create strategies and decrease crime in Ontario.

The OPP identifies the importance of strong community partnerships and how they are essential in creating effective crime prevention reduction strategies and reminds the public of the highly effective community safety programs that help keep families in Ontario communities safe including: Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED), SafeGuard Ontario, the OPP KIDS Program, and Lock It or Lose It, just to name a few.

“Crime Prevention Week is about working together to improve community safety and well-being,” said JVN (Vince) Hawkes, OPP commissioner. “It is that joint sense of ownership and collaboration that will make our homes, neighbourhoods, and workplaces healthy and safe.”

Police Chief Rodney Nahwegahbow explained that it takes everybody to make a healthy, safe community. He noted the new position of social navigator occupied by Daughness Migwans, “which allows us to reach deeper into the root causes of our problems. We can’t catch everyone or stop all crime, but by getting to the root we can stop it from happening.”

The UCCM Police will be hosting open houses for the public to get information on such topics as how to protect your home and property, online fraud as well as the protection of women.

“I’ve personally seen the changes (in policing) over the last 25 years,” Police Chief Nahwegahbow said. “There’s more follow-up, detail and compassion required and sometimes we do feel like we’re counselling people.”

Another way the UCCM Police is ‘working together’ is through its Situation Table Hub. “We can’t exhaust our officers, so for some cases we will turn to them and hand over the kind of cases that are best handled by them.”

“Crime Prevention Week allows us to showcase that shared responsibility for policing, to get the community involved, because it really is a shared responsibility—together we can prevent crime, police can’t do it for themselves,” the police chief added.

Wikwemikong Tribal Police Chief of Police Gary Reid thanked the community of Wikwemikong for its good support of their police force. “Without the community support, we’d be in tough business,” he said matter-of-factly.

Today, Wednesday, November 4, the UCCM Police will be at the Seven Fires Youth and Elders Centre in Whitefish River to discuss ‘Friendships and Relationships for Youth’ at 5 pm. On Thursday, November 5, UCCM Police will be back in Sheshegwaning at St. Joseph’s School for a classroom visit meet and greet at 2 pm. They will also attend the Sheshegwaning community complex for a talk on hunting safety and the recent band council resolutions at 3:30 pm.

On Friday, November 6, the UCCM Police will be at Manitoulin Secondary School for a lunch and learn in the Three Fires Confederacy room. That same evening the police will be giving a talk on personal safety at Gwekwaadziwin House in the Pinewood Park Subdivision at 6 pm. On Saturday, November 7 the UCCM Anishnaabe Police will be out and about with a ‘roving RIDE and distracted driving campaign.’

Also as part of Crime Prevention Week, the UCCM Anishnaabe Police is hosting a number of contests for the youth, including a colouring contest of the UCCM Police logo for Kindergarten to Grade 2 students; creating a poster with a crime prevention message for youth in Grades 3 to 6 and an essay contest for students in Grades 7 to 12. Prizes will be offered for first, second and third-place entries.

For more information about any of the UCCM Police Crime Prevention Week initiatives, contact them at 705-377-7135 and be sure to follow them on Twitter @UCCMPOLICE.