Community Safety is defined as the right of all individuals living, working, or visiting the Cowichan Valley Region to go about their daily life without fear of harm or injury. Social Planning Cowichan has worked on a number of projects to create safer spaces for all members of our community.
Youth Safety Dialogues were conducted in the Cowichan Region during 2012 and 2013 by Safer Futures to examine the range of indicators concerning risk and protective factors for youth. The dialogues involved youth from the ages of 13-22 and were undertaken to garner an understanding of the diverse views of young people and their specific safety concerns. At the end of Phase I, the CVRD Community Safety Advisory Commission put forward Six Principles for a Safe Youth Cowichan and Three Steps to Lay a Foundation including a Regional Youth Strategy and local action projects. From 2013-2015 Safer Futures and the Community Options Society worked with Social Planning Cowichan among other organizations and the municipal government to build upon these recommendations. This included generating a regional representation of youth views on their safety, a dynamic and engaged Safe Youth Cowichan team and a Junior Youth Council, a Neighbourhood Action Initiative that addresses the safety of young women, and a Youth Lens to inform local decision makers about how to incorporate youth needs.
Safe Youth Cowichan (SYC), born out of Safer Futures, has initiated and carried out a range of projects concerning issues of violence and safety, working with many partners, including local schools and organizations, local governments, and First Nations. SYC started the Youths Safe Spaces Project which aimed to create a sense of belonging for youth by designing innovative spaces within community parks for youth to use and feel safe in. Over 120 youth were consulted to determine what they would like to see in their community. In 2014, SYC won an award for their work in Crime Prevention, and Community Safety projects.
Social Planning Cowichan began a Duncan Highway Corridor Business engaged with local residents in the York road corridor in 2017 to discuss concerns, develop, and implement solutions. Through the facilitation of bi-monthly meetings, SPC worked with businesses to implement a pilot project where businesses hire Warmland residents to work for them providing daily needle sweeps and clean-up.
SPC has also conducted extensive work in the Beverly-Alexander neighbourhood, involving residents and students who attend nearby schools, with activities that included safety audit walks, public art projects, and an annual block party to bring the community together.