McCauley Community Safety Meetings have gained momentum and credibility over the past year. An increasingly broad and representative group of stakeholders with a common interest in community safety is now meeting monthly. These meetings bring together residents, businesses, service agencies, community groups, EPS, REACH Edmonton, City and Provincial representatives, and invited resources. They are a means for engagement, connection, sharing, learning, and empowerment.
Approximately 110 distinct individuals or groups have attended the past three Community Safety Meetings. Nearly 200 individuals now receive emailed invitations, with others being reached through social media, press, posters, handbills, and word of mouth. The creation of a meeting-specific website – safermccauley.ca – will serve to further spread the word.
Residents now comprise roughly 50 percent of the meeting group, with representatives of service agencies making up the second-largest contingent. By bringing together residents and agencies, Community Safety Meetings hold potential for the realization of a more harmonious McCauley. In the words of the City of Edmonton regarding Recover: Edmonton’s Urban Wellness Plan, “Neighbourhood residents are concerned about disorder, criminal activity, and personal safety. Social agencies feel that they and the people they serve are unwanted in the community, further marginalizing them.” Regular communication between residents and agencies is key to decreasing the tension that can exist between them.
Community Safety Meetings have connected attendees to one another – and to information and resources that they have been seeking. In May, for example, attendees participated in a Q&A with professionals from Safe Consumption Services. And, in August, EPS Sergeant Paul Looker presented on the topics of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and Crime Free Multi-Housing (CFMH). But, meeting attendees want more than increased connectedness. They want to be consulted and to have a say in creating a more vibrant community.
The meeting’s convener, REACH Edmonton, believes that the best solutions come from within the community. Community Safety Meetings are now incorporating more interactive elements, with community knowledge and direct input playing a vital role, as we look for opportunities to create community-driven solutions to safety concerns. Recently, the meeting group engaged in exercises to define what a safer community means to them and to prioritize their safety concerns. On October 30, the group will participate in identifying community assets. The data collected will be synthesized, reported to the meeting collective, made public via safermccauley.ca, and ultimately, play a central role in searching for community-driven solutions.
There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in our community; and together we can develop manageable, sustainable initiatives to add to the work that EPS and the City do to promote safety in McCauley. We hope that you will consider attending and having your say.
If you would like to be added to the meeting email list, please contact REACH Edmonton McCauley Community Convener, Mark Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A connected community is a safer community.
Mark is the REACH McCauley Community Convener.