Can community safety groups replace (some) policing?

Policing costs Canadians $16.5 billion each year or roughly $45 million per day

Why It Matters

Overpoliced communities are turning to grassroots organizations, often run by volunteers or underpaid workers, to keep the peace. Making space — and funding — for alternative public safety models could save lives.

Warning: This story has several mentions of police violence, suicide, mental health crises, and drug use.

WINNIPEG / TREATY 1 — Inside the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre, the last notes of an honour song fade into smoky air; Grace Akerstream Laing thanks the singer, then holds up a hand-drawn map of the neighbourhood. Red numbers mark the location of tents and other improvised shelters.

There are 15 in total.

“We’ve got a lot of blankets right now, so I think it makes sense to check on the camps,” she says. “Our relatives won’t go cold tonight.”

A dozen or so volunteers in fluorescent vests nod emphatically, then hustle to load a pair of landscaping wagons with sna


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