Mr. Speaker, today I wish to tell you about “Building a Northern Evidence-Based Approach to Crime Prevention”, a new pan-territorial research initiative that the Northwest Territories Department of Justice is participating in with Yukon and Nunavut.
With the support of our federal partner, Public Safety Canada, the three territories have launched a four-year project to develop a made-in-the-North approach to crime prevention. Through the National Crime Prevention Centre, a total of just over $1.2 million dollars has been committed over the life of the initiative. While the NWT has the lead, the intent is to deliver the project through a true partnership involving the residents and communities of each territory.
Each of the three territories has crime reduction initiatives in place, and we have all been working with community partners to decrease crime in our communities. However, we acknowledge that the crime rate in the three territories is consistently higher than the rest of Canada. This is especially true when it comes to the level of violent crime, which is significantly higher.
In developing approaches to crime prevention it is critical that we understand crime and the impact it has on our residents and communities. This includes a deeper understanding of the root causes of crime across the territories, and why our crime rates are consistently higher than other areas of Canada.
Currently, data is collected by various government agencies and partners, but it is important to ensure that the information gathered is shared in an organized and responsible way. It is also important that we make sure that the quality and the consistency of data being collected is relevant to our needs, so that we can work together to make informed decisions.
To date, there has not been a comprehensive study across the North that pulls together this kind of information and focuses specifically on crime prevention. This new four-year project will address this need.
The first phase of the project is well underway, Mr. Speaker, and will set the stage for a successful initiative. The end result will be a northern crime prevention framework that recognizes the uniqueness of each territory, as well as our common goal to work in close partnership with our respective communities to deter and prevent crime.
Building a strong and sustainable future for our territory by strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and other northern governments, is one of the priorities of this Assembly. Through initiatives like “Building a Northern Evidence-Based Approach to Crime Prevention” we are helping to create sustainable, vibrant and safe communities. We are proud to be part of this valuable work. By working together with Nunavut and Yukon, we can build on the partnerships that each territory has developed with their community members. This coordination of our strengths will lead us to crime prevention solutions that are truly reflective of all Northerners.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.