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Violence Reduction Strategy Unveiled

August 10, 2011

Edmonton Police Service, City, and REACH Edmonton all key partners

Mayor Stephen Mandel, Police Chief Rod Knecht and Jon Hall, Chair of REACH Edmonton have unveiled a strategy aimed at reducing violence in Edmonton. The strategy is focused on reducing the severity and frequency of violence, reducing the conditions of social disorder and better addressing the needs of distressed communities.

“We know our City is safe overall, but there are targeted steps we can take immediately to address the conditions that create violence and lead to homicides,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “In addition, we must all work together over the long-term because we know this is a societal problem.”

The City and REACH have identified key program areas that will be refocused over the next four months to address gaps in support services for multicultural communities, the aboriginal community and vulnerable populations, particularly homeless people. This includes moving forward and seeking Provincial support for a new REACH-coordinated 24/7 service providing social services access for at-risk populations, as well as the launch of a new family violence prevention campaign. Enforcement in hospitality areas throughout the city will be expanded to deter alcohol related events and the number of Neighbourhood Empowerment Teams will be increased to make at-risk neighbourhoods safer.

The Edmonton Police Service will focus on reducing the severity and frequency of violent crime, as well as the fear and perception of crime. This will be done by focusing on alcohol and drugs, weapons, distressed communities and social disorder.

"This strategy requires the commitment of our citizens, communities, partners and stakeholders,” said Police Chief Rod Knecht. “This is not a quick fix, there are no simple solutions. This is a marathon, not a sprint, that we are collectively committing to."

The work of EPS, the City and community partners such as REACH has contributed to an overall 12% reduction in Edmonton’s crime rate. This compares with an 8% drop in Calgary’s crime rate and a 6% drop nationally.

“We are pleased to work with the City of Edmonton and EPS on this important strategy. We will continue to partner with organizations, agencies, community groups and individual Edmontonians to make Edmonton a safer city, said Jon Hall, Chair REACH Edmonton.