MISSISSAUGA, ON – Evaluation reports from Safe City Mississauga reveal the effective role community policing plays in impacting youth perceptions of police. This is one of many great benefits gained through the participation in Safe City Mississauga’s no-cost Crossroads Youth Academy program.
The Crossroads Youth Academy is a 7-session crime prevention program delivered in the form of educational presentations. Targeting youth in Mississauga high schools, staff from Safe City Mississauga, Bank of Canada, and constables from Peel Regional Police visit school classrooms and teach students about local crime issues such as drug awareness, cyber safety, counterfeit detection, intimate partner violence, youth law, and human trafficking – a growing concern in the Peel Region. In addition, skill development presentations are offered to students in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association.
In 2017, Crossroads educated 4,667 youth overall – 538 of which who participated in a post-participation survey. This data is reported in the Crossroads Evaluation Report which examines both statistical information about perception of police, as well as an analysis of written comments that inform future programming. For instance, Safe City Mississauga provided students with 4 statements about police and asked students to rate how much they agreed, or disagreed, with various statements, both before and after programming. When comparing the before and after results, we saw a big reduction in neutral responses, and a 14-25% increase in positive scores following the positive police interactions students had in their own classrooms.
In addition, students who participated in the Crossroads program indicated increased knowledge of crime prevention. Of 449 student responses, 70% of students said definitely, definitely they will apply the crime prevention information taught in the Crossroads program into their own lives. This is further supported by 97% of participating teachers reporting that Crossroads taught their students practical life skills. Furthermore, 69% of students indicated that the content presented during Crossroads presentations will discourage youth from engaging in acts of crime.