Community Safety Plan
Crime & Safety is a top priority for Kelowna citizens and City Council. On April 11, 2022, Council endorsed Kelowna's first-ever Community Safety Plan (CSP).
The CSP is a five-year action plan focused on proactive actions to reduce risk, vulnerability and harm in our community. Through the engagement of local systems leaders, including the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Kelowna RCMP, Interior Health, the Ministry of Children & Family Development, the Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction, and School District #23, the CSP reflects a shared vision and collective commitment to actions that will improve community safety and sense of safety.
Kelowna’s CSP forms the basis for a multi-pronged, systems-based approach to improve community safety and well-being in our city, which includes improving residents’ sense of safety.
CSPs have become increasingly common in Canada since 2017, when Ontario legislated municipalities in that province develop and implement them. There is no single approach or format that CSPs must take, though all seek to engage a cross-section of government and non-governmental leaders to establish a shared vision and a shared action plan for change.
Among other things, Kelowna's CSP provides a framework to:
- Engage and align relevant community stakeholders, systems and partners
- Identify and validate community safety issues and priorities
- Uncover local assets and identify risk factors underlying local community safety issues
- Outline tangible, evidence-based actions taken through multi-system and agency approaches
- Develop new ways of measuring, monitoring and reporting progress
The Kelowna CSP was guided by the following overarching objectives:
- To develop partnerships that deliver community safety strategies and outcomes, while building governance structures for ongoing coordination and integration among systems leaders
- To confirm the scope of the police role in delivering community safety strategies and outcomes, and the roles of other agencies engaged in community safety
- To ensure actions taken are based on evidence, and evidence is informed by meaningful metrics from many sectors
- To align with existing City of Kelowna commitments and outcomes for community well-being and inclusion (e.g. Journey Home Strategy, Healthy Housing Strategy, Imagine Kelowna)
Other principles and considerations that shape the development of the made-in Kelowna CSP include:
- Community safety and crime reduction are not the responsibility of police, alone. Shared ownership and responsibility among "upstream" systems and partners helps ensure individuals, families and communities experiencing risk factors get the support they need. They are identified earlier and get timelier, targeted and more effective support so they do not need costly intervention or emergency response down the line.
- Broad-based senior leadership is essential to the success and sustainability of city-wide community safety efforts. As such, a steering committee composed of senior government designates with responsibilities for systems / institutions relevant to a Kelowna CSP developed and championed a shared vision for change.
- The Kelowna CSP aligns with existing local social policy work (e.g. Imagine Kelowna, Healthy Cities Initiative, Social Policy Framework and Journey Home Strategy) but did not overlap or duplicate those efforts.
- The project management team and steering committee relied on data from a range of credible sources in compiling the CSP. These aided in developing the relevant profile of our community, and in identifying and validating community safety issues, and driving the creation of tangible, evidence-based and action-oriented responses.
- The CSP process built upon, but did not duplicate, results from other relevant stakeholder engagements (e.g. Imagine Kelowna, Journey Home Strategy, tiered policing review, Intelligent Cities, and community safety survey), and employed additional, focused and timely engagement strategies.
- The Kelowna CSP is meant to facilitate positive community safety outcomes, including reduced crime and victimization, along with an increased sense of safety
- The risk factors and root causes affecting community safety are broad and often multi-generational. The CSP focuses on actions most directly linked to current community issues and those most likely to have the desired impacts in the short to medium term.
A project management team, made up of City employees and contractors, supported and managed the development of the Kelowna CSP, with guidance from the steering committee.
The CSP steering committee was composed of senior representatives from the First Nations Health Authority, Interior Health, the Ministry of Children & Family Development, the Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction, Kelowna RCMP, School District #23 and the City of Kelowna. They were all leaders in their organizations who can effect the systems-based changes necessary to enhance community safety in our city. They met for the first time on January 11, 2021.
The steering committee was supported by the project management team, composed of City employees and personnel from the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention, who supported development of the CSP.
In addition to research and engagement through the steering committee, stakeholder engagement included a range of organizations and agencies representing the business and social sectors, Indigenous Peoples, faith groups, seniors, youth, people with lived experience of homelessness and more.
Community stakeholders provided input in July and August, 2021.