Crime Prevention Yukon slighted

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Re Crime Prevention Yukon throws in the towel, (the News, February 18):

There were a number of inaccurate statements made by reporter John Thompson in his Crime Prevention Yukon story.

The article consistently minimized and diminished the work of Crime Prevention Yukon by statements like: “…it ran a small, and now-unused, research library for social workers.”

The Crime Prevention Yukon resource library was formed through funding from the National Crime Prevention Centre as part of our Vital Communities project.

The library and other initiatives under Vital Communities were not, as Thompson indicated, “a library for social workers,” but part of a larger strategy to form a network of professional organizations working on issues related, in some way, to crime and other social problems.

The Vital Communities project helped provide meeting and program space to a variety of organizations, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Many Rivers. Additionally, and through the Vital Community project, Crime Prevention Yukon played a central role in co-ordinating Crime Prevention Week and was absolutely necessary to the co-ordination of the Block Party program and Crime Stoppers.

The Vital Communities project has been considered a successful one by the National Crime Prevention Centre and didn’t, as Thompson writes, simply lend “a few books,” fill bellies with hotdogs and hamburgers… and help “kids go skiing.”

The “skiing” referred to reflects the fact that for years and on behalf of the Department of Justice and Executive Council Office (Youth Directorate) respectively, Crime Prevention Yukon administered both the Winter Youth Activities and Summer Youth Leadership projects.

Although there may be some doubt as to the effectiveness of the above in preventing crime, it is widely acknowledged that offering alternative activities is an effective strategy to, if not prevent crime from occurring in the first place, at least help reduce the possibility of re-offending. Note: this is true of many types of prevention work, namely alcohol and drug relapse prevention.

Thompson states that Crime Prevention Yukon “has operated for 13 years. Since it started, it appears no closer to drawing any conclusions on how to prevent crime.” Despite being poorly written, the above does not accurately reflect either the comments of our executive director at the time or the philosophy of our organization.

Crime Prevention Yukon has consistently stated that preventing crime requires a comprehensive strategy formed from a variety of disciplines. In other words, crime prevention through social and economic development that has, as its focus, social inequities like poverty, lack of affordable and safe housing and progressive solutions to the alcohol and drug problems in this territory.

It is with deep regret that Crime Prevention Yukon is now dissolving as a society. Now more than ever, it is important to recognize the current and past staff, board members and volunteers over the years who have contributed their time and efforts to promoting crime prevention in Whitehorse and the Yukon.

Recognition and appreciation must also go to representatives of the RCMP who, in the past, have sat on the board as directors, and to the wise and thoughtful help received from advisers to the board from both Whitehorse and the Department of Justice.

Crime Prevention Yukon, over the years, has had many crime-prevention projects and we are thankful for the appreciation for those projects shown by all Yukon communities, including Whitehorse.

Finally, Crime Prevention Yukon as a community-based organization has historically advocated for a social solution to our territorial problems regarding crime.

It is our hope that our colleagues, and Yukoners as a whole, continue to see crime prevention through social development as an important goal to strive for, now and into the future.

Crime Prevention Yukon

Board of Directors