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A Vancouver where everyone can feel safe

Everyone deserves to feel safe — and to be safe — in their community. OneCity’s approach to promoting community safety is rooted in compassion, dignity, and justice.

People who experience discrimination and disadvantage often experience the greatest lack of safety in Vancouver. Using police to respond to social problems only harms the most vulnerable and takes resources from more effective solutions.

Everyone is safer when all community members receive the housing, health care, and social supports they need.

 

Investing in strong communities

 

Vancouver spends a million dollars a day on policing, more than a fifth of the city’s annual budget. Police are our default response to health and social problems like mental illness, addiction, poverty and a lack of social services. OneCity will “de-task” the police by reallocating funds towards community organizations and agencies that are better suited to address these issues.

  1. Invest in community-based organizations and non-police experts trained in de-escalation and crisis response.
  2. Create a Peer Assisted Care Team (PACT) program to dispatch a mental health professional and peer crisis responder to people experiencing a mental health crisis. PACT has been a success in other cities in B.C. and across North America, saving money and freeing up police and hospital resources.
  3. Fund mental health first aid training and make courses available for free or low cost to train members of the public to assist someone experiencing a crisis.
  4. Support Indigenous-led justice and community safety initiatives, such as the Bear Clan Patrol called for in the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre’s Red Women Rising report.
  5. Support restorative justice initiatives that aim to repair harm and promote meaningful accountability for offenders.
  6. Encourage community-based responses to racism, hate and other forms of discrimination.
  7. Promote neighbourhood street safety organizations, such as safe walks, especially in underserved neighbourhoods and nightlife hubs.
  8. Expand the Better Together: Neighbourhood Collective Action Pilot Program to more areas of the city.
  9. Evaluate Community Policing centers to see what aspects of their work can be replicated by or transferred to civilian groups.
  10. Fund services that allow people who are unhoused to store their belongings, and direct city crews to avoid disposing of people’s possessions.
  11. Demand greater municipal control and democratic oversight over the VPD’s annual budget and training related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  12. Request the Auditor General to report on priority areas where reallocation of investments will have the best outcome for public safety. 

Ensure accountable policing

 

Systemic racism and the colonial roots of policing drive inequitable treatment of and impacts on racialized groups. Indigenous and Black communities are overpoliced and criminalized at disproportionate rates.

Patrols targeting drug users, sex workers and people experiencing homelessness often lead to unsafe conditions for those who are most at risk.

OneCity wants to end police practices that harm the most marginalized. We will fight to ensure police treat everyone fairly, without discrimination.

  1. End street checks.
  2. Explore programs to support safe schools to replace the terminated Vancouver School Board’s School Liaison Officer Program.
  3. Recognize and implement Indigenous approaches to justice and justice systems in consultation with the Host Nations and urban Indigenous people.
  4. Collect race-based and demographic data to address systemic discrimination in policing.
  5. Ask the Mayor, as Chair of the Police Board, to request police avoid:
    • arresting or ticketing people engaged in sex work, drug use, camping or sidewalk vending; 
    • surveillance and patrols around overdose prevention sites; and 
    • seizing and disposing of people’s personal belongings.
  6. Declare Vancouver a Sanctuary City for migrants and refugees, ensuring residents with precarious immigration status have safe access to city services and no one is detained or deported due to an interaction with city officials or police.

Create welcoming public spaces

 

Vibrant, clean, active neighbourhoods make people feel safe. Densely populated areas have more “eyes on the street.” Neighbours who meet each other look out for one another. They keep an eye on local kids and check in on vulnerable elders.

People notice when an unhoused resident is unwell and needs some support. When our communities have thriving places where people want to spend time together, we’re all safer as a result.

  1. Streamline permitting for festivals, street vendors and performers, small scale community events, and other creative uses of public spaces, especially in underserved neighbourhoods.
  2. Increase street lighting, seating, and accessibility for people with mobility limitations. 
  3. Invest in libraries, community centres, and neighbourhood houses, which provide essential services and support community connection. 
  4. Ensure every neighbourhood has well-maintained public, accessible washrooms and working water fountains.
  5. Build more protected bike lanes so everyone can feel safe cycling. 
  6. Build more car-free and slow streets, prioritizing the safety of pedestrians and cyclists over the convenience of vehicles.
  7. Explore programs to deter graffiti vandalism such as providing other opportunities to create public art and tracking down repeat offenders.

Judy Darcy,
former BC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Speaking to OneCity's proposal to introduce PACTs to Vancouver:

“I am excited to see OneCity commit to PACT teams as the centrepiece of its community safety plan.

For most people experiencing a mental health crisis, a police response or a trip to the ER is the last thing they need. PACT peers and mental health professionals are trained to de-escalate crises, provide immediate support, and connect people to the services and care they need.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Speaking to OneCity's proposal to introduce PACTs to Vancouver:

“For too long, we have been throwing police at problems ultimately created by colonial systems founded on inequality and exclusion. This approach has failed Indigenous people. It's also failed Canadians. We are glad to see this proposal take a different approach, whereby municipal emergency response services will dispatch a responder who is equipped and trained in responding to the specific type of emergency they're being send to. That kind of proposal is what we need to actually solve problems and build a safer city.”

Support our plan for a Vancouver where everyone belongs

OneCity believes there’s room for everyone in our city to thrive. We’ll work together across City Council, School Board and Park Board to make sure you always have a place here.