Hobbema is in the early stages of instilling a program aimed at the reduction of violence and deaths caused by shooting similar to a highly successful program currently running in the United States.
Formed in 1995, The Chicago Project for Violence Prevention is an organization with two primary goals. Those goals are to work with the community and government partners to reduce violence in all forms and to help design interventions to be included in a community or city anti-violence program.
Eventually, through discussions with community partners, crime experts, and representatives from a cross-section of government agencies, the Chicago Project’s steering committee developed an 8-Point Plan for reducing violence called “Ceasefire”- a program that fo cuses on street-level outreach, conflict mediations, and the changing of community norms to reduce violence with a concentration on shootings. The program has highly trained outreach workers and other community leaders intervening in conflicts and potential conflicts and promoting alternatives to violent lifestyles. The program also involves cooperation with the police and strongly depends upon public education campaigns to instill the message that shooting and violence are not acceptable. It also calls for the strengthening of communities so they can exercise informal social control to reverse the unnecessary violence occurring all too frequently.
Formally launched in 2000, Police Beat 1115, located in Chicago, was chosen as the first Ceasefire zone because of the substantially high number of shootings in the area. In the first year of the program, shootings in this beat dropped by an astonishing 67 per cent. By the beginning of 2006, Ceasefire was either established or in the process of being implemented in 15 neighbourhoods in the city and at the sites in five other cities in Illinois. It looks like Hobbema will be implementing a similar idea to help rid its streets of the violence that has been plaguing them for far too long. The program would have a different name and would be tailored to meeting the specific needs of the community.
“We are still in the early stages with regards to this program,” said S/Sgt. Darrel Bruno of the Hobbema detachment. “Hobbema RCMP will be meeting with the University of Alberta sometime later this month. Should the University participate, they would be administering the program,” he said.
The program would also need funding from the provincial or federal governments and require involvement from all bands that make up the reserve.
More information will be provided as it becomes available. There are many obstacles to overcome but if the project is a go it is expected to be a success, ultimately showing a drastic reduction in violence related statistics in Hobbema as well.