On behalf of Toronto Neighbourhood Centres (TNC), West Neighbourhood House Board President Rona Abramovitch spoke to the Toronto City Council Executive Committee on Jan. 27. She spoke out in support of a proposed pilot project that would transform community safety and reduce overpolicing, including by introducing a new non-police model of response. Rona stressed the need for bold leadership by the city so Toronto can make progress on community safety.
Rona’s deputation was based on TNC’s Rethinking Community Safety report.
Building on research and first-hand experience, the report shows that in a broad range of settings, policing is the wrong tool for improving safety. Frequently it has the opposite effect, and it does so at great expense — despite the availability of better alternatives. All too often, policing and overpolicing have deepened systemic injustices, harmed Black, racialized, and Indigenous communities, and failed to make communities safer.
To that end, the report recommends the implementation of non-policing alternatives in four key areas: homelessness, mental health, youth, and gender-based violence. It also calls for the rethinking of police control over the 911 system, since the vast majority of 911 calls do not involve violent situations.
As a member of TNC, West Neighbourhood House is proud to fully endorse this report, along with dozens of other community organizations.