Random acts of kindness and graffiti removal are just scratching the surface of the Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre.
Thanks to a hefty $143,000 infusion from Red Deer city council, the growing centre is moving full steam ahead in its efforts to improve safety in communities.
TerryLee Ropchan, executive director, said there are some exciting programs in the works that may get underway this summer (depending on grant approvals).
“Every program we have is identified by need in the community,” said Ropchan.
“We’re not randomly bringing things here. People have walked through our doors and asked for them. They have told us at events.”
Ropchan said the funding boost of confidence from council allows the centre to show stability in the eyes of grant funders.
The centre’s largest undertaking in 2014 is to implement S.A.F.E. (stakeholders, action, focus and events) Red Deer, a one-week look at a community.
“We want to come in and engage residents,” said Ropchan. “We want people to tell us what is working and not working in their neighbourhood.”
A contest will determine up to 14 communities.
The centre volunteers will take care of the small fixes such as trimming trees. Next up will be a big community clean and a barbecue.
An inventory of the identified concerns and the outstanding issues will then be handed off to either the city or the RCMP depending on the issues.
“We want neighbourhoods to really buy into this,” said Ropchan.
“We want them to feel like they own the decisions that are going to be made about their neighbourhoods.”
Also on the radar for 2014 is a community-based victim services program for victims of non-violent crimes such as property crimes is also proposed.
Ropchan said they will be working with the RCMP on this one.
Bringing a Crime Free Multi-Housing program to Red Deer is also slated. Under the program, property management and owners will have their buildings certified as crime free.
Renters must sign an addendum on their lease that says they will not be involved in criminal activity.
Ropchan said there has been requests from tenants who want to give the information to their landlords.
Once again the centre will host Crime Prevention Week activities, graffiti abatement programs, and random acts of kindness with the Youth Crime Prevention Action team this summer.
The centre is expected to move into a new location before May.
On Feb. 26, the centre and the city will host Irvin Waller, an Ottawa University criminology professor, at Westerner Park. Waller will discuss how community partnerships and investments in childhood, youth and family programs can help those on the road to criminal activity avoid the path.
There will also be a community conversation on ways to make Red Deer safer. Go to www.cacpc.ca for more information.