The Brandon Police Service (BPS) has been handed $65,000 from the Province of Manitoba after Premier Brain Pallister announced the distribution of the government’s Proceeds of Crime Fund last week.
The province delivered almost $450,000 in funding to law enforcement agencies across Manitoba on Dec. 14, supporting a total of 14 projects. A portion of the money comes from the province’s share of forfeited funds from criminal code offences prosecuted at the federal level.
Brandon’s share will cover two local projects. The BPS is using $43,100 for a bicycle theft prevention strategy that creates a “proactive police strategy to reduce victimization and empower residents to help fight crimes of opportunity,” said a provincial government news release.
Bicycle theft statistics across Canada have run hand-in-hand with a rise in drug addiction. Suspects use the bikes as street currency to obtain cash or purchase drugs. The BPS strategy includes creating an online bicycle registry through “Project 529 Garage,” a registry app that helps improve the chance that stolen bikes will be returned to their owners.
The project also builds partnerships between the City of Brandon, local bike shops, educational institutions, the Brandon Bear Clan and other organizations for the dissemination of theft prevention information; and improves bicycle parking facilities in areas with high vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
The remaining $22,100 has been set aside to reduce recidivism rates. This project will set out to reduce crime by helping offenders released from jail find and maintain a job.
“This funding will allow us to champion new and innovative initiatives that will assist in crime reduction,” BPS Chief Wayne Balcaen said.
“Anytime our police service can form partnerships with local stakeholders that assist in crime reduction, it is truly a win for the entire community. It is always exceptional news when we are the recipient of this type of funding and we look forward to the positive results that will be realized.”
The recidivism initiative is a pilot project focused on 10 individuals who want to reintegrate into the community with the help of several partnering organizations. These partners include the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation, the John Howard Society of Brandon, the Brandon Literacy Council and the Samaritan House Employment Resource Centre.
The Rivers Police Service in Rivers, Man. also received funding from the recent dispensation. More than $3000 was handed out for a River Police Cadet Program, an initiative that seeks to prevent crime through positive interactions between the community and members of the police service.
Money was also distributed to law enforcement agencies in Portage la Prairie, Thompson, Norway House, Springfield, Winkler and Winnipeg, the latter of which receiving more than $240,000 for four local projects.
“We will continue to invest in programs and initiatives that help keep Manitobans safe,” Pallister said. “Our government is working together with police agencies and community organizations across the province to achieve our shared goals of combating the illicit drug trade and reducing crime.”