Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: February 24, 1998

Author/Local: Judy Rogers/7626

CC File No. 3144


Vancouver City Council


Deputy City Manager, on behalf of the

Urban Safety Commission


Urban Safety Commission


THAT Council approve the Urban Safety Commission /Coalition's request for funds of $75,000; source of funds to be the 1998 Operating Budget.


There is no specific Council policy related to this request.


The purpose this report is to update Council and seek Council's support for the activities of the Urban Safety Commission.


On July 29, 1996, Council supported the Mayor unanimously in the creation of the Urban Safety Commission with the following mandate:

·to identify key issues affecting the safety and quality of life of Vancouver residents and visitors;

·to identify limitations in the present laws and processes which restrict the City’s ability to address these issues;

·to make legislators and government agencies aware of these issues, and the impact of legislation and government operations on our ability to manage our community;

·to propose and lobby for changes in legislation and government programs.

Members of the Urban Safety Commission include Mayor Philip Owen, Councillor Lynne Kennedy, Mr. Art Phillips, Mr. Patrick Reid, and Ms. Shirley Stocker. Staff supporting the Commission include Chief Constable Bruce Chambers and Deputy City Manager, Judy Rogers. Appendix A outlines the current structure of the Commission.


1997 Activities

Throughout 1997, members of the Urban Safety Commission gathered information on current issues facing Vancouver’s citizens in the area of crime and safety and undertook two significant activities. In June, the Mayor took to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities the following resolution:

·THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities demand that the Federal Government support and implement the following crime prevention and drug treatment actions:


1.Simplify and strengthen legislation to more aggressively fight the drug trade.

2.Ensure that the millions of dollars recovered under proceeds of crime legislation goes to fight drugs and create treatment centres rather than to general revenue.

3.Seek advice from the judiciary about how current legislation hampers the justice system in fighting drugs.

Justice System:

4.Hand down stiffer, longer sentences and larger fines to convicted drug criminals.

5.Support police in their efforts to increase search and seizure powers under the Narcotic Control Act so that searches of drug traffickers' vehicles can be conducted without a warrant.


6.Continue to push for stronger laws and stiffer sentences for convicted drug criminals.

7.Increase community policing efforts to prevent drug use and trafficking.


8.Lobby for stronger laws and support more active enforcement of laws against drug use and trafficking.

9.Support better reporting of criminal activity using a "Crime Stoppers" model.


10.Increase efforts to prevent drug use by supporting anti-drug education programs.

11.Work with police to more aggressively enforce the law and fight drugs around schools.

Staff are currently preparing significant background material and documentation to support 1997 resolutions related to the interpretation of laws related to crime and safety. The information will be reviewed by the Urban Safety Commission, and then brought to Council for approval in April before submitting the documentation to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The second significant undertaking of the Urban Safety Commission was the launching of Vancouver’s Coalition for Crime Prevention and Drug Treatment in October 1997 in which the Mayor, the Chief Constable, and the Urban Safety Commission, along with a number of Community Partners agreed to work together to fight drug abuse and property crime in the City of Vancouver. Coalition members announced:

·an investment by the City of Vancouver to assemble land for lease to an agency for drug treatment programs, detox and drug and alcohol programs;

·a commitment by the Chief Constable, through restructuring and reallocation, to put 75 - 100 more police officers on the street;

·a joint youth education program aimed at drug awareness, supported by the Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Police Department and Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and

·a continuing investment by the Vancouver Board of Parks & Recreation for youth programs.

Throughout November, December and January, the Mayor met with many community organizations to discuss programs currently underway in Vancouver identifying areas in need of new services and/or better coordination.

1998 Activities

A. Coalition

The strength of the Coalition is that it brings together business, government, neighbourhoods and service groups to find solutions to crime and safety issues impacting the City of Vancouver. The Coalition partners are focused on actions that enhance and maintain Vancouver’s "quality of life" combined with initiatives that bring about drug prevention and treatment programs. In continuing to bring together current and future Coalition partners and sponsors, initiatives requiring collaboration and cooperation across jurisdictions will be possible. The Coalition members will be meeting in April to enhance initiatives like the following:


a)North West Forum - led by Councillor Kennedy, April 1,2,3 will bring together invited staff and elected officials from New Westminster, Tacoma, Seattle, and Portland to share strategies on Alcohol Management;

b)Symposium on Drug and Alcohol Treatment - Scheduled for June, the Symposium will bring together world experts to discuss options for setting up treatment models for the City of Vancouver;

c)Continuous work with news media on Public Service Announcements related to preventing property crime;

d)Crime Prevention Seminar - The Insurance Bureau of Canada has agreed to sponsor a Crime Prevention Seminar designed to assist people in preventing property crime involving their homes and cars.

2.Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centre

a)work with the Province's newly created Management Advisory Committee in developing and implementing a model for the continuum of care required in the region;

b)provision of facilities for a Sobering Centre;

c)work with Provincial Government on funding capital and operational needs of services;

d)work towards a comprehensive drug treatment centre.

3.Youth Programs

a)work with Vancouver Park Board youth workers re: restorative justice/diversion/program;

b)support the VPD, RCMP, and VSB program currently underway;

c)work with community agencies and sponsoring agencies on youth programs.

4.Community Initiatives

a)link potential sponsors and community safety offices;

b)encourage all organizations to use their internal communications with their staff and the public to sponsor crime and safety awareness programs;

c)continue to work with community organizations, Neighbourhood Integrated Service Teams, the Law Department, Permits and Licenses on issues related to: 24-hour stores, pawnshops and second-hand stores, and vacant buildings.

5.Support of Police Initiatives

Support to Police Department initiatives related to community based policing, Crime Watch, Block Watch, and Community Safety Offices.


The Urban Safety Commission is reviewing current legislation around crime and safety, and are looking specifically to pursue recommendations related to the interpretation of the Young Offenders' Act, the interpretation of the Charter of Rights, matters covered under criminal law as well as limitations within City by-laws. These include recommendations related to search and seizure laws, sentencing, proceeds of crime, non-returnable warrants, anti-drug resolutions, and exploitation of youth.

Staff have undertaken work in the following areas and are bringing forward reports and actions to Council on the following: second-hand stores; vacant buildings; non-returnable warrants; tougher sentencing (drug crimes); panhandling; sexual exploitation of youth (proposed amendments to Criminal Code and Bill C-27); and illegal gambling.

Financial Considerations

In order to continue activities throughout 1998, the Urban Safety Commission/Coalition requests the following budget:

Coordination of Coalition Project

Research - Drug/Alcohol Law

Public education materials, Writing Newsletter

Survey - Public Opinion








Solving crime and safety issues were identified by the community as a prime concern. The formation of the Urban Safety Commission has helped to shape the direction of Council, staff, citizens, community agencies, and businesses in building a safer community through collaboration and cooperation.
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