Over the course of 2020-21 the City of Thompson and the Community Wellness and Public Safety Advisory Committee spearheaded a process of community engagement and research that culminated in this three-year Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) Plan facilitated by the Community Safety Knowledge Alliance (CSKA). This work was initiated as a way to address concerning levels of crime and harm in the city and to strengthen community assets so that Thompson can be safer, healthier and more inclusive. While the issues confronting Thompson are complex, long-standing and often multi-generational, the community benefits from strong, creative individuals and organizations committed to turning this around to make Thompson a safe and healthy place to live, work and visit.
Community safety and well-being plans are becoming a major catalyst for inter-agency cooperation. They provide the basis upon which the community can identify and address priority risks and needs, and support a more coordinated delivery of services to achieve positive outcomes at the individual, family and community levels. As a community development process, creating and periodically revisiting a community safety and well-being plan helps to create the conditions for joined up effort towards collective impacts. In this way, it can help communities better grapple with complex issues that are bigger than one service sector or stakeholder group, alone. Community safety and well-being planning can also form the basis for ongoing learning in the community about how to make it safe, just and equitable for everyone.
Thompson’s CSWB Plan was designed to align available public, private and community-based resources to create the conditions for the city to be a safe place to work, live and visit.
Six priority areas of activity were identified as being crucial to improving local community safety and well-being outcomes:
- Integrated alcohol management – focusing on integrated planning, service delivery and support for people experiencing problematic alcohol use issues;
- Reducing demand on police resources – pertaining to non-criminal and low-risk-to-harm matters;
- Community inclusion, systemic inequities and racism – focusing on systemic conditions removing barriers to, and enhance experiences of, community inclusion;
- Housing and homelessness – to alleviate housing insecurity;
- Youth-involved crime and harm – to reduce involvement in crime as witnesses, victims and perpetrators;
- Built environment and social infrastructure – to support community inclusion, opportunities for people to develop connections with one another, and enhance accessible recreational opportunities.