Crime prevention pays


UTM collaborated with Safe City Mississauga to host the third annual Crime Prevention conference.

Professionals from various backgrounds came to speak on Friday in the Instructional Centre, including police, government officials, and crime prevention practitioners. In commemoration of Remembrance Day, this year’s conference also involved speakers from the Canadian Forces. Student attendees contributed to the discussion on how to prevent crime.

The themes of this year’s lectures were “Harnessing the evidence: harnessing what works” and “Freedoms: how Canadians protect freedoms enjoyed”.

The conference was launched by plenary speaker Major Vanessa Hanrahan of the Canadian Forces, who discussed her deployment in Afghanistan, where she contributed to NATO’s efforts to establish a safe environment for the nation. Hanrahan explained how her involvement in the NATO training mission increased her appreciation of Canadian freedoms and the importance of safeguarding them.

The talks that followed the opening address were divided into three sessions. The first topic was the occurrence and implications of residential crime in neighbourhood communities. Dana Wilson of Peel Children and Youth Initiative spoke about the societal characteristics that limit residential engagement in Peel communities, and emphasized the importance of strengthening social connections.

This was followed by an introduction to “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design” given by Tom McKay of the Peel Regional Police and Wayne Nishihama and Randy Jamieson of the City of Mississauga. CPTED is an approach that uses innovative planning and development techniques to reduce crime, and has been fairly successful.

The second session concerned the influence of crime on society. Constable Scott Mills of the Toronto Police Service shared how social media can be used to achieve community success and safety. Afterwards, Graham Clyne of the Peel Children and Youth Initiative  gave a talk on the importance of community involvement to the economy. In his lecture he described how economic models can be used to study the outcomes and values of community and social service interventions.

The final part of the conference was focussed on criminal justice, such as at-risk youth and intimate partner violence. Melissa Punambolam of Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services summarized the duties of youth justice workers and the challenges faced by young individuals involved in the legal system.

For the conference’s two-part concluding lecture, Tina Hotton Mahony and Myrna Dawson of the University of Guelph highlighted some research on intimate partner violence, along with police responses to such incidents.

The goal of the annual Mississauga crime prevention conference is to provide a forum through which community leaders and professionals can “learn, share, and build partnerships that prevent crime before it happens”.