Edmontonians can and will once again feel safe on city streets if they take control of their neighbourhoods and attack crime at the grassroots level, a group of community leaders say.

The Edmonton Taskforce on Community Safety will appear before council Wednesday to deliver findings and recommendations on how to stop crime before it begins.

“This is a way people can take their power back,” said taskforce co-chair Lindsay Kelly.

The group was formed in September 2008 in response to ineffective solutions for quelling street crime, Kelly said, adding though funding was given to programs, little headway was made.

One year later and results are in the Reach Report, which outlines nine recommendations in a 10-year plan to create a culture of community safety in a city with a dangerous stigma. Integral parts of the plan include prevention, specifically targeting children living high-risk lifestyles without proper parental support.

“We need help now more than ever to get people to collaborate and work together,” she said. “We’re seeing more children at younger ages turning to crime.”

Among the recommendations are plans to work with entire families and provide 24–7 access to help for high-risk people.

“We’re trying to get to crime before it starts and create a safer community in one generation, then you need to deal with children and families,” she said. “At the grassroots of neighbourhoods, too, there’s great power once people become involved and see results.”

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