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Zone Policing Applauded by Crime Prevention & Drug Strategy

April 26, 2013 – The Thunder Bay Drug Strategy and the Crime Prevention Council applaud the Thunder Bay Police Services for the planned implementation of a zone policing model and the Zone Watch initiative.

These actions support recommendations that emerged during the creation of the Drug Strategy as evidence-based approaches to addressing harms related to substance use at a community level. Action 8.5 of the Strategy calls for re-investment in community policing to renew focus on crime prevention. Action 8.8 calls for investigating the instatement of a Neighbourhood Watch type of program.

The new policing practices also align with the recommendations of the Crime Prevention Council’s Strong Neighbourhoods Working Group. “In every neighbourhood we work in, we consistently hear the call for better relationships with police,” said Dr. Amy Siciliano, Coordinator of the Crime Prevention Council.  “Having officers dedicated to one geographic area lays the foundation for strengthening those relationships and increasing trust between police and citizens. Evidence shows that when people feel more connected to their community, they feel safer and more secure.”

“With zone policing, we will see increased police involvement with community-building activities as they get to know their zones and begin to develop partnerships with residents and business owners in the area,” said Cynthia Olsen, Coordinator of the Drug Strategy. “Research shows that even if community activities are not specifically targeting substance use problems, they can have a positive effect on overall health and wellness of a community, including a reduction in drug-related issues at the local level.”

Communities and neighbourhoods can also be mobilized to create safe environments through social media and supports for programs that increase personal and community responsibility. The new Zone Watch initiative is just that – a way for community members to collaborate with Police to prevent crime and increase safety. Members of the community who have applied and received training will have the opportunity address issues in their own neighbourhoods and create solutions with Police.

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Contact: Cynthia Olsen, Thunder Bay Drug Strategy Coordinator, 625-2942
              Amy Siciliano, Crime Prevention Council Coordinator, 625-2554