A new pilot project partnering police, schools and social workers and targeting at-risk youth in the city was launched yesterday.

SafeCom (Safe Communities) is a $1.4-million initiative to be gauged over the next three years and is designed to support children showing risk of future criminal behaviour by intervening at the earliest stages, according to Alberta Justice Minister Alison Redford.

“This really is a one of a kind program in this country and that’s what makes it so exciting,” Redford said. “This is about addressing the root causes of crime long before anyone ends up in courts or becomes a victim.”

Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson was also on hand for the announcement and was equally excited about the Multi-agency School Support Teams (MASST).

MAAST will partner the Calgary police, City of Calgary community and neighbourhood services, both Calgary school boards and social workers into four teams who will work closely in communities to identify students for the project.

“Addressing these particular risk factors is critical in preventing young people from going down the wrong path … and reduce the chance of them coming into contact with police when they get older,” Hanson said.