The City of Kamloops will apply for federal funding to provide education aimed at reducing gun and gang violence. Kamloops is one of the communities pre-identified for funding through the Public Safety Canada Building Safer Communities Fund.
City community services manager Tammy Blundell said the funding is being offered to communities across the country. Kamloops qualifies for a maximum of $2 million over four years and Blundell said the funding would be for custom, community-driven initiatives, noting the city will first hire a co-ordinator. RCMP officers are not allowed to be hired, as per the funding criteria.
“It’s strictly addressing crime prevention,” Blundell said, noting Interior and smaller municipalities were among those identified for the program because larger cities already have these types of programs in place.
Blundell said Kamloops will look at education programs already existing in Vancouver and work with School District 73, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and community organizations. Blundell said an education approach should target young girls in grades 4 through 6. She said it is a vulnerable stage, during which time youth are drawn into gangs.
Blundell said the new co-ordinator will have a criminology background and identify and develop programming for Kamloops.
“We can suggest, but really we’d be relying on their [new co-ordinator] expertise to be able identify these programs,” she said.
Policing costs have risen of late in Kamloops. CAO David Trawin told KTW he does not expect this funding to help offset those costs, however, because the funding cannot be used for policing. Trawin said the funding is not a result of city crime statistics but rather a targeted approach by the federal government to support this type of program in middle-sized communities.