Kelowna council has adopted the city’s first Community Safety Plan (CSP).
The plan focuses on five priorities: crime prevention, intervention and sense of safety, domestic violence and intimate partner violence, housing and homelessness, mental health and problematic substance use, and racism and discrimination. The CSP also details proactive actions to reduce risk, vulnerability, and harm in the community.
Councillor Brad Sieben highlighted a comment in the staff report on the plan which stated “the increased number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness leaves residents to feel unsafe on the street.”
“I think that’s an important comment, it’s a social factor that we’re dealing with,” said Sieben. “I think when you dive into the sense of safety, you’re dealing with two different groups. One is probably those that are homed that come into certain areas and observe it and feel unsafe, and those that are experiencing homelessness that feel unsafe. They’re two different needs, if you will, to try and look at.”
The CSP took in consultation with the public, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), RCMP, Interior Health, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, and School District #23. The 15-month development of the plan included research and engagement of approximately 100 people representing 30 organizations, 775 community members, city council, national subject matter experts, and others.
“Achieving our vision, an ideal state of a ‘community where all people are safe and feel safe’, is a complex, dynamic, multi-generational, and multi-sectoral task,” said Stu Leatherdale, divisional director, corporate and protective services. “The Community Safety Plan is just one piece of the puzzle; it brings together key partners in new ways to help us move forward collectively with recommendations and actions to address some of our city’s biggest safety concerns. It also helps us better understand and explain the root causes behind crime.”
The CSP also lays out 15 recommendations and 30 action items. Read more about the CSP on the City of Kelowna website. As a next step, a Stewardship Team, including leaders from government, non-government organizations, and the community, will be recruited for the plan’s implementation. The CSP can be found on the City of Kelowna website.