Investing in our Community to Reduce Crime

by Chris Fleury
Investing in community to reduce crime requires teamwork

In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd, a public movement has begun to “defund the police”. 

As I understand it, very few people are calling for the abolition of the police as an institution. Rather, most are calling for a transfer of funds presently being invested in policing toward investment in community programs and resources. The rationale being that many community programs have the potential to lead to better outcomes at a lower cost. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” 

Although “defunding the police” is not the choice of words that I would have used, the underlying concerns warrant serious consideration. 


Investing in our communities to reduce crime. 

The most common examples of investments that could be made to community programs and resources are programs that increase the high school graduation rates among at-risk youth, support those with substance abuse and dependency issues, and support single-parent families. These types of interventions are generally agreed to have a causal impact on decreasing crime. 

These resources already exist within our community, but they need our support.

For example, the John Howard Society of Belleville (JHSB) conducts many such programs. (As a disclaimer, in addition to being a lawyer at Bonn Law, I am also a current board member of the JHSB.)    

Programs offered by the John Howard Society of Belleville (JHSB)

The JHSB operates the Quantum Program. The Quantum program’s goal is to reduce dropout rates and delinquency in students facing challenges as they enter high school. The program pairs students with a trained youth worker who sees the student for the duration of the four-year program. The trained worker provides educational, developmental and service opportunities throughout the four year period.

JHSB also runs the Bail Verification and Supervision program. As a brief background: typically after a person is arrested and held on their charges, they require a ‘surety’ in order to be released on bail. A surety is a person who volunteers to supervise the accused in the community until the charges are resolved. A surety is typically a member of the accused person’s family, a friend, or a coworker. In cases where a person is not a risk to the safety of the community, but the Court has serious concerns that the accused may not show up for their court date, the person will be held in custody pending the resolution of their charges. Bail Verification and Supervision program workers act as a surety for accused persons who have no one in their lives who can take on this role. The average cost to detain someone in a provincial jail while they wait for trial is approximately $170 per day. The cost to supervise someone in the community is between $5 and $10 per day; an enormous savings.

Many community-based organizations rely heavily on donations. 


There are smart and humane ways that we can invest in our community to reduce crime and reduce the number of persons in jail. Supporting community-based organizations and programs pays off in the short and long term. Often, the programming and services provided by these groups allow us to spend less and achieve better outcomes which keep us all safer.

The JHSB has very little in the way of consistent government funding. It relies mostly on ad-hoc government and private grants as well as community donations. I encourage everyone reading this to donate to the local JHSB if they are able.