Hub is a new program in the city which looks to create a collaborative approach to dealing with crime in Yorkton.
The program locally is a result of a provincial paper entitled Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime, explained Lauretta Ritchie-McInnes, a member of the Hub Steering Committee.
“It’s basically lessons learned from other jurisdictions,” she said.
Ritchie-McInnes, speaking at a Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers Yellowhead Branch luncheon said it has come to be recognized more police are not the answer to crime.
“RCMP won’t significantly reduce crime on their own. They need partners,” she said.
Government has realized they too are not the answer, nor is a particular community group.
“Reducing crime is too big of a challenge for any one (level of) government, or group. It’s going to take a collaborative approach,” said Ritchie-McInnes.
Ritchie-McInnes said there are examples where communities have come together to effect change, pointing to Boston, Glasgow and closer to home Prince Albert.
Prince Albert established a Hub bringing community groups to the table where they were able to help identify challenges high risk individuals were facing, said Ritchie-McInnes, noting such challenges are often familiar such as level of employment, education, health and housing.
The Hub, being a group of individuals representing a wide range of groups dealing with various aspects of concern, mental health, addictions, education and the RCMP among them, can discuss a particular individual’s circumstances and dispatch the appropriate agency to help them.
“They sit down and discuss the people that are high risk,” said Ritchie-McInnes.
It’s not about creating something totally new in terms of agencies, but rather to better utilize the resources already in place, offered Ritchie-McInnes, who said she became involved because she realized there was “a need to do something different in Yorkton … because people were falling through the cracks.”
RCMP Sergeant Rob Laurent said Hub is working in Prince Albert, a community where police field some 20,000 calls for service annually, adding in the two years of the program there has been a 14 per cent reduction in crime. The reduction included cutting some 900 calls regarding missing persons basically in half.
“From a police standpoint that is a huge reduction,” he said, although the police are not behind the Hub idea “… This is not a police initiative. This is a community initiative.”
Laurent sits as the RCMP representative on the Yorkton Hub, which now meets weekly. He said if an individual is discussed at a meeting Tuesday the appropriate help agency at the table will be tasked with meeting with that person prior to the next meeting.
“Results are expected,” he said, adding to date they have dealt with 27 cases since the initial meeting April 12. “All have been very successful.”
Laurent added, “This is targeted toward youth to catch them before they get too involved in the system,” but also deals with adult situations.
Laurent said while help is offered through Hub, “we can just help the people that want the help.” So far in Yorkton only one person approached has rejected the support.
When dealing with agencies dealing with mental health, education, addictions and corrections there were initial concerns regarding an individual’s privacy, said Laurent, but with set guidelines and rules for participants those issues have been overcome.
Laurent said he is convinced Hub can act as a way to prevent crime. As an example he cited the Kim Walker murder case.
“I do not believe we would have had the Kim Walker incident (had Hub existed),” he said. He explained through Hub it would have been likely Jayda would have found the help she sought before the matter escalated.