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Residents talk youth and crime with minister

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Crime prevention and opportunities for youth were the focus of discussions at a recent community meeting.


Dozens of residents from northeast Winnipeg attended the crime prevention consultation last week to provide provincial government representatives with feedback on how to help youth achieve their full potential and make the community safer.


The meeting was held May 29 at Bronx Park Community Centre and was facilitated by Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities Kevin Chief.


"For better, stronger communities, it starts before they’re born. One program we have is the Healthy Baby program, it supports future children," he said. "When we make an investment early on there are positive results."


Chief said it’s essential for youth to have positive activities to be involved in so they don’t fall in with the wrong crowd.


"If they’re not involved in sports, recreation, or something positive, they don’t wait for us," the Point Douglas MLA said.


"Someone will find them and seek them out, and get them involved in something negative."


A number of Elmwood residents at the meeting acknowledged that providing recreational opportunities for youth is important. They said the need has become even more pronounced following the closure of Kelvin Community Centre, the loss of East Elmwood Community Centre due to fire, and Youth for Christ moving downtown.


"One of the things I notice is missing in this area is a place for youth to go. Our community centre was torn down and we see the results of increased crime," said longtime Elmwood resident Carlos Sosa.


Chief acknowledged the meeting was the first of many that will be needed to come up with solutions that will work best for the community.


Judy Simcox, secretary-treasurer for Citizens for Crime Awareness District 4, said it’s important for the community to work together to formulate a plan to address the situation.


"I’m thinking if we can work as a community together kids get to know kids, and parents get to know parents," she said.


"It’s a circle, and we all have to do our part. But in the neighbourhood is where it starts."


Chief said one of his government’s goals is to help young people realize that they can be role models and can make a difference.


"It’s irresponsible to ask young people to overcome hardship and adversity unless we can show them another young person who has," he said.


"The only way we can make our communities safer and better is together."


For more information or to share ideas visit www.manitoba.ca/strongerandsafer or  email strongerandsafer@gov.mb.ca.

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adrian.alleyne@canstarnews.com

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