Association for Safer Cape Breton Communities (Details)

Name of province/ territory:

Nova Scotia

City/ Region:

Nova Scotia

Description of Initiative:

The Building Safer Communities initiative is led by the Cape Breton Regional Police Service (CBRPS) which seconded a sergeant as Executive Director for the Assocation for Safer Cape Breton Communites (AFSCBC).

The AFSCBC currently has 52 members. This includes an executive of eight, whose mandate it is to carry out the directives of its members. Our association, which is a community-driven organization, meets on the second Thursday of each month to discuss options for ensuring healthier and safer neighborhoods in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM.)

The official launch of the AFSCBC took place in January 2008. In May 2008, a new project began to evolve—the North Sydney Community Project (NSCP):

  • We surveyed approximately 650 residents from the area seeking input on ways to improve their neighborhood.
  • In partnership with CBRM bylaw enforcement and fire inspectors we encouraged residents from the locale to clean up unsightly properties.
  • Cape Breton Regional Police Services (CBRPS) accelerated enforcement in the area.
  • CBRM Public Works cleaned up publicly owned property, which in turn deterred criminal activities in these areas.
  • We established a community office on Clifford Street, North Sydney, in what had been a Cape Breton Island Regional Housing complex.
  • In an effort to offer improved assistance for troubled youth in the area, the federally funded Youth Inclusion Program was established in partnership with the Island Community Justice Society.
  • We constructed a basketball / street hockey court for the youth in the North Sydney area.
  • A closely knit partnership with multiple agencies enabled the AFSCBC to better deal with well-known “drug houses.” (What we learned is now being used successfully in other areas of the CBRM.)
  • We have established an ad hoc committee comprised of people from the North Sydney area, which meets once a month to discuss the best approaches as we continue in our work to improve the community.

In April 2009, we were awarded a grant through the Nova Scotia Department of Justice/Seniors to assist seniors not only in identifying, but in learning to deal with different forms of elder abuse and its associated issues. May of 2009 saw the beginning of the New Waterford Community Safety Project, a follow-up to the successful North Sydney Project:
  • We surveyed approximately 450 people asking them how we could assist.
  • We established a community office in a Cape Breton Island Regional Housing complex.
  • A new community mobilization intitative is being developed, based on the "Hub" and COR (Centre of Responsibility) model.
  • Similar projects were done in Glace Bay and Sydney Mines in 2010 and 2011. Community offices were also opened in each of these communities.

  • Working in partnership with a community focus group, we strive to develop ways to better offer assistance in the New Waterford area.
  • In partnership with Family Services of Nova Scotia we are currently negotiating a National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC) grant whereby high school students will be properly trained to work with elementary school students.
  • In partnership with a community focus group and through the Nova Scotia Department of Justice/Seniors, we are in the process of negotiating for a program that would better provide for the support and safety of seniors.

Work in both the North Sydney and New Waterford communities is ongoing. In October 2009, we concluded that a large number of our youth/adolescents are, for various reasons, abandoning school. We have approached agencies that deal with youth services to see if they could come together and build a coordinated approach to at-risk youth/adolescents. We have been meeting regularly with the major stakeholders, encouraging them to participate in this coordinated approach. We are pleased to report that the Health Authority, the School Board, the Department of Community Services, Probation Services and the police service have all agreed to meet and attempt to construct such a strategy.

On March 10, 2010, the official opening of the community office took place at 680 8th Street, New Waterford, Nova Scotia.

Initiative Key Objectives:

Healthier and safer communities

Section Responsible for Implementation:

Community officers, enforcement units, community volunteers

Key Contact:

Tom Ripley

Groups/ Agencies/ Key Partners Involved:

  • community groups
  • private agencies/corporations
  • civilian governing authorities
  • police association or union
  • other government departments/agencies
  • academic institutes (research and evaluation)

Level of Involvement (consultative - information sharing) and/or cooperative - direct involvement):

Level of involvement is consultative and cooperative.

Amount of Time Initiative has been in Place:

Since 2007.

Reason for Undertaking the Initiative:

Creative approach to engaging many stakeholders to come together to solve community problems.

Resources Required to Implement this Initiative:

Corporate and community work together to share costs or finds ways to cover costing.

Method of Implementation:

Started as an idea with a small group and grew into an assocation that meets regularly.

Key Outcomes of the Initiative:

Yes, less crime! More community involvement, neighbourhoods cleaned up of debris, sporting facilities established and utilized, etc. Youth programs established equals safer communities.

Availability of a Communication Strategy:


Key Messages used to Publicize the Initiative:

Promoting healtier and safer communites through community mobilation and collaboration.

Forms of Evaluation by which the Initiative will be Assessed:

  • internal
  • external

Evaluation Completed or Community Feedback Received:


Summary of the Outcomes:

Communities themselves are involved; volunteers are involved; and police are engaged and operating from these neighbourhoods.

Summary of the Performance Measure Data Collected:


Economics of Policing Pillars:

Further Details:

The AFSCBC has seven board members registered with Joint Stocks of Nova Scotia who are recognized as the actual voting members for the AFSCBC, and approximately 50 association members who attend meetings and give direction to the board of directors. The board of directors is also a part of the association.

The AFSCBC has an employee seconded from the CBRPS. The CBRPS, through an MOU with the AFSCBC, is responsible for this officer’s salary and contract. The AFSCBC office and support staff are provided free of charge by Cape Breton University.

The AFSCBC is involved in a number of community projects. The decision to become involved in these projects is decided by the association membership. Announcements are made on a regular basis to promote these projects. The public is invited to attend these announcements. The announcements are held in places such as church halls, schools gymnasiums, etc.

From time to time the AFSCBC, in partnership with the CBRPS, will hire individuals through grants from different government agencies such as Service Canada and Service Nova Scotia. This would include employment for summer students and for unemployed individuals who are trying to gain experience to make their way back into the work force. Currently we have posted nine positions to be filled by students for eight weeks this summer through Service Canada. These students will be working in our community offices along with our police service. The funding has been obtained by a number of organizations, including the AFSCBC.

The AFSCBC, in partnership with a number of organizations, currently has four community offices. The offices are staffed by volunteers and individuals funded through grants from Community Services. The community offices are provided free of charge by the Cape Breton Regional Island Housing Authority. The CBRPS are recognized as the actual lease holder of each Community Office.

The AFSCBC has accounts with four local credit unions. Any money received usually comes from gifts from the community and from a small membership fee that the AFSCBC charges to its members. We also obtain money by applying for grants. Any money that we receive goes right back into the community for things such as social functions for the children who visit the community offices. Money is also spent on incidentals when announcements are held.

The AFSCBC has been instrumental in working with agencies within the CBRM to bring programming to our community. Two examples would be the NCPC Youth Inclusion Program and the NCPC You Can Program. The AFSCBC, in conjunction with the Cape Breton Association of Youth Housing and Programs Initiative and in partnership with New Dawn, has obtained funding from Service Canada to create a youth resource centre for the CBRM.

Our website is Everything that the AFSCBC has done to date is on our website. The website identifies the agencies involved and the names of the individuals that are with the AFSCBC, and includes the minutes from each meeting.

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