Public Support for Crime Prevention through Social Development

Media coverage of crime issues often suggests that Canadians want more police officers on their streets and heavier sentences for offenders. However, public opinion surveys suggest that Canadians believe in the benefits of increasing crime prevention through the use of social development approaches.

  • 62% think their local police is doing a good job of ensuring neighbourhood safety (Statistics Canada, 2001).

  • 32% believe that more police officers would be most effective in reducing crime, while 65% believe that expanding youth literacy and other training programs would be most effective (EKOS Research Associates, 2004).

  • 25% believe that giving young offenders tougher sentences is the best way to prevent youth crime, while 73% believe that giving at-risk youth opportunities to get involved in positive activities is the best way (EKOS Research Associates, 2004).

  • 67% believe that crime prevention is more cost-effective than law enforcement in reducing the economic and social costs of crime to society (EKOS Research Associates, 2004).

  • Canadians believe that crime prevention provides additional social benefits, such as improving the health and well-being of children and youth (81%), reducing substance abuse (73%), lowering unemployment (58%), reducing health care costs (57%), and reducing social assistance costs (56%) (EKOS Research Associates, 2004).

  • 63% of Canadians think the federal government should be investing more money in crime prevention than is currently being spent – about $2 per Canadian per year (EKOS Research associates, 2004). Visit our Policies section to find out more on what Canada is doing.