How Does CSWBP Work?
Community Safety and Well-Being Planning requires less dependance on reactionary, incident-driven responses and re-focusing efforts and investments towards the long-term benefits of social development, prevention and addressing elevated risk.
Promoting and Maintaining Community Safety and Well-Being
Social development requires long-term, multi-disciplinary efforts and investments to improve the social determinants of health (i.e. the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age such as education, early childhood development, food security, quality housing, etc.) - this results in a reduction in harm and victimization.
Specifically, social development is where a wide range of sectors, agencies and organizations bring different perspectives and expertise to the table to address complex social issues, like poverty, from every angle.
The key to successful social development initiatives is working together in ways that challenge conventional assumptions about institutional boundaries and organizational culture, with the goal of ensuring that individuals, families and communities are safe, healthy, educated, and have housing, employment and social networks that they can rely on.
Social development relies on planning and establishing multi-sectoral partnerships. To work effectively in this area, all sectors need to share their long-term planning and performance data so they have a common understanding of local and systemic issues. Strategies need to be bolstered or put into place that target the root causes of these issues.
Social development in action will be realized when all community members are aware of services available to them and can access those resources with ease.
Proactively Reducing Identified Risks
Planning in the area of prevention involves proactively implementing evidence-based situational measures, policies or programs to reduce locally-identified priority risks to community safety and well-being before they result in crime, victimization and/or harm.
In this area, community members who are not specialists in “safety and well-being” may have to be enlisted depending on the priority risk, such as business owners, if the risk is retail theft, and property managers, if the risk is occurring in their building.
Service providers, community agencies and organizations will need to share data and information about things like community assets, crime and disorder trends, vulnerable people and places, to identify priority risks within the community in order to plan and respond most effectively.
Successful planning in this area may indicate whether people are participating more in risk-based programs, are feeling safe and less fearful, and that greater engagement makes people more confident in their own abilities to prevent harm.
While planning in this area is important, municipalities, First Nations and their partners should be focusing their efforts on developing and/or enhancing strategies in the social development area to ensure that risks are mitigated before they become a priority that needs to be addressed through prevention.
Mitigating Situations of Elevated Risk
Planning in the risk intervention area involves multiple sectors working together to address situations where there is an elevated risk of harm - stopping something bad from happening, right before it is about to happen.
Risk intervention is intended to be immediate and prevent an incident, whether it is a crime, victimization or harm, from occurring, while reducing the need for, and systemic reliance on, incident response.
Collaboration and information sharing between agencies on things such as types of risk has been shown to create partnerships and allow for collective analysis of risk-based data, which can inform strategies in the prevention and social development areas.
To determine the success of strategies in this area, performance metrics collected may demonstrate increased access to and confidence in social supports, decreased victimization rates and the number of emergency room visits.
Municipalities, First Nations and their partners should be focusing their efforts on developing and/or enhancing strategies in the prevention area to ensure that individuals do not reach the point of requiring an immediate risk intervention.
Critical and Non-Critical Incident Response
This area represents what is traditionally thought of when referring to crime and safety.
It includes immediate and reactionary responses that may involve a sense of urgency like police, fire, emergency medical services, a child welfare organization taking a child out of their home, a person being apprehended under the Mental Health Act, or a school principal expelling a student.
Many communities invest a significant amount of resources into incident response, and although it is important and necessary, it is reactive, and in some instances, enforcement-dominated.
Planning should also be done in this area to better collaborate and share relevant information, such as types of occurrences and victimization, to ensure the most appropriate service provider is responding.
Initiatives in this area alone cannot be relied upon to increase community safety and well-being.