Why Invest in Crime Prevention?

Posted on Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Research shows that 2.2 million adult Canadians are still victims of assault and other types of violence. One in three Canadians has been the victim of child abuse. The extent of intimate partner and sexual violence is not known for Canada, but it continues to damage quality of life, particularly in women. These types of violence disproportionately affect Indigenous Peoples.

Collectively, these crimes cause victims pain and often enduring trauma, estimated to cost the equivalent of $55 billion a year in harm.

University of Ottawa experts, in partnership with the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention, have launched a series of briefs to share the latest evidence on crime prevention and provide actionable solutions for making cities safer.

“We have accumulated significant evidence that investments in pre-crime prevention have been more effective and cost effective in preventing crime than the standard reactive model of police, courts and corrections” says Irvin Waller, professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa.

Actions for Municipal Stakeholders:

  1. Municipalities can look to proven prevention programs to effectively reduce the cost of violence;
  2. Municipalities can reduce the demand for reactive policing by investing in both social pre-crime prevention initiatives and problem-oriented “smart policing”;
  3. Municipalities can achieve the violence reduction targets by 2030 in the Sustainable Development Goals by investing more in evidence-based strategies and partnerships and measuring outcomes;
  4. Municipalities can improve the quality of life of their citizens, particularly by focusing on the prevention of intimate partner and sexual violence, and violence against Indigenous Peoples.

Read the full Why Invest in Crime Prevention in Municipalities? action brief

The action briefs are produced by crime prevention specialists at the University of Ottawa, led by Professor Irvin Waller. The first action brief shares the evidence that investments in families and youth, school curricula, and problem-solving policing before young persons get involved in crime are cost effective crime prevention initiatives. The brief identifies cities in Canada and abroad that have achieved large reductions in crime by adapting the evidence to solve their city-wide crime problems. It provides mayors, city councillors, city managers, police leaders and other stakeholders a concrete set of recommended actions for their municipalities to realize the prevention dividend.

Expert available for commentary:

  • Irvin Waller, criminology professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

Media inquiries

Sarah Foster
Media Relations Officer
University of Ottawa

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