Community Action Policing
Action Policing (CAP) is a 'target policing initiative' in which
uniform officers are specifically assigned to work with the community
to resolve locally identified issues involving crime, disorder,
and other safety concerns. The purpose of high visibility target
policing is to enhance public safety by providing immediate relief
to a neighbourhood from a variety of "street-crimes" such as youth
gang activity, prostitution, drug trafficking and disorderly behaviour.
This program is a unique short term, tactical approach to identifying
these issues, and dealing with them quickly and efficiently. It
is hoped that CAP will effectively 'jump-start' long term solutions
to these and similar problems.
The CAP program
was initiated by our Service in co-operation with social agencies,
Parks and Recreation, the media, the community, and local politicians.
It was created out of a growing concern over the lack of readily
deployable officers to address community problems. In recent years,
Toronto has experienced a tremendous growth in population. Unfortunately,
along with this growth there has been a steady increase in petty
crime, and crimes against-the-person. Over this same period, the
Toronto Police Service uniform strength declined slightly due
to restrictive budgets. Our Service was stretched to the limit.
CAP program was developed in part, to help resolve our short staffing
issues with respect to street-crime. This initiative was facilitated
through a special $1.8 Million fund provided by the City, to bring
in off-duty officers to police specifically targeted areas. The
CAP program ran for an eleven week period over the summer months,
when street corners, alleyways, malls and parks traditionally
became the venue for much of this undesirable activity. Crime
analysis and consultation with community members helped identify
target areas across the city where a uniform presence could have
a significant impact on street-crime, and provide an opportunity
for the local community to interact with members of our Service.
CAP officers were able to work with our community partners in
finding meaningful solutions for local issues. Though 955 arrests
were made in targeted CAP areas throughout the program, other
non enforcement oriented solutions were sought as 'first options'.
Often the identification of environmental enhancements such as
improved lighting and trimming of shrubs and bushes in a park
resolved a specific concern.
CAP met with
tremendous community support throughout its period of operation
from July 15th, 1999 to September 30th, 1999. In an overview,
Community Action Policing;
communication and cooperation with community partners
a feeling of safety for residents in the target areas
the environment for local businesses
the environment in local parks and increased park usage ® Facilitated
a better understanding of community problems and priorities
At the October
wrap-up ceremonies in Police Headquarters, statistics were presented
which provided the hard evidence that CAP had been a success.
Our Service was able to put 680 additional officers on the street
each of the eleven weeks of the program. Those officers contacted
and/or investigated 62,862 people.
interaction with the public had a significant impact on reducing
crime in the community. In some cases, specific crimes in targeted
areas were reduced by 50%. Additionally, significant results were
achieved in reducing crime city-wide. The "Seven Crime Indicators",
(a globally accepted indicator of the criminal element within
a specific geographical area) of murder, assault, sexual assault,
robbery, break and enter, auto theft, and theft over, were reduced
by a remarkable 13.8% during this period.
Action Policing is an overwhelming success by any standard. As
CAP Co-ordinator Deputy Mike Boyd remarked at the conclusion of
the program, "for each hour that the CAP program was in operation,
there was one less innocent victim of crime in our city."