A good start for our kids will keep them out of jails

lfpress.com – comment/editorial
Last Updated: March 22, 2011.    By John Chambers, Qmi Agency

Reducing crime starts with improving chances.

People aren’t born inherently evil. They aren’t born inclined to do bad things. No mewling baby is equipped with a broken moral compass constantly pointing to the wrong side of right.

People are born into circumstances that put them on less than solid footing. For these people, doing wrong is either learned behaviour or an alternative made easier by lack of choices. More should be done to help these unfortunates.

The cost of policing continues to increase, while the primary role of those tasked with serving and protecting has become one of reaction. Police investigate crimes. They do not prevent them. Prevention is the cure that needs to take place early by addressing the environment that nurtures criminal behaviour.

A 2008 Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada found that one in nine Canadian children–more than one million kids–lives below the poverty line.

Children born into poverty are likely to live in places where they are routinely exposed to substance abuse and violence –key contributors to low self-esteem. They are not likely to have the opportunities for enrichment that other Canadian children take for granted. No minor soccer, no music lessons and for the many living in one-parent families, no one to help with homework or supervision.

Canadians talk about the need for stiffer penalties–even mandatory minimums– as a deterrent to crime, when in reality no threat of prosecution or incarceration will be a deterrent for those with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Crime prevention requires a cohesive national strategy to ensure the most vulnerable in our communities get the start they need. They need proper nutrition and educational supports, better access to subsidized childcare as well as geared-to- income housing. Their caregivers need better training to create new employment opportunities. Help the parent, help the child.

For everything Canada has to brag about on the world stage, at home we are failing our children, and they deserve better.

More police and more guns on our streets, or harsher sentences for criminals, will never prevent crime. Until we are ready and financially committed to addressing the root causes society’s ills, they will continue to make victims of us all.

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