How can Canada use evidence to reduce violent crime significantly? Takeaways from Science and Secrets of Ending Violent Crime

Faculty of Social Sciences
Department of Criminology
Splatter of blood on concrete
In Canada, rates of violent crime have returned to levels of 20 years ago and the homicide rate is second only to the United States and rising. Rates of homicide for Indigenous peoples are six times those of non-Indigenous people. Gender based and sexual violence is at epidemic levels. Our main response has been increased expenditures on policing – now close to $20 billion – and punitive legal reform.

Senator Marilou McPhedran and Felix Munger, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Safer Communities, have invited parliamentarians, experts and practitioners to discuss how Canada can use evidence to reduce violent crime significantly in the light of takeaways from Irvin Waller’s book Science and Secrets of Ending Violent Crime, plus recent developments along the lines of the book in the United Kingdom and U.S.

Professor Waller will share a short list of strategies that reduced violent crime significantly from his encyclopedic review of 50 years of research available on government and intergovernmental platforms.  This list includes many solutions needed, but not used enough in Canada, including those directed to youth and families in difficulty, curricula-enhancing life skills, and proactive policing partnerships. 

The panel following his presentation will focus on how to accelerate changes needed in Canada and include two evidence-based examples. Dr. Leena Augimeri isco-founder and developerof Stop Now and Plan, an internationally recognized proven and cost saving early intervention strategy to stop crime. Devon Jones is theFounding Directorof Youth Association for Academics, Athletics, and Character Education (YAAACE), an evidence-based program to create access to opportunities and mitigate systemic inequities for racialized youth.

Waller will also highlight internationally agreed essentials for successful implementation of effective programs, including the success of Glasgow in Scotland that reduced violence by 50 percent within three years.  Since the book was published in 2019, the U.K. government chose to invest in replicating the violence reduction unit (VRU) model key to Glasgow’s’ success. Cities such as London and Manchester have established VRU’s, where independent evaluations have shown significant reductions in violent crime and in admissions to hospitals for injuries. The U.K. has also established a $350 million fund over 10 years to promote proven solutions similar to those already identified by Waller.

U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris now oversees an office for gun violence prevention and is actively encouraging states and cities to establish similar entities. It is funding local violence intervention projects and case workers in hospital emergency rooms. Cities like Boston are implementing evidence-based solutions overseen by an advisor to the mayor. 

Irvin Waller calls for urgent action for Canada to become a global leader on stopping violent crime. He echoes recommendations made by parliamentary committees to invest the equivalent of 5 percent of what is spent on reacting to crime to ensure Canada has the skills to plan and use effective solutions under the responsibility of an office led by a senior official.  

WHATHow can Canada use evidence to reduce violent crime significantly? Takeaways from Science and Secrets of Ending Violent Crime


  • Irvin Waller, internationally recognized expert on crime prevention and victims’ rights, Full Professor uOttawa Department of Criminology.
  • The Honourable Marilou McPhedran.
  • Felix Munger, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Safer Communities.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 5 at 6 p.m.

WHERE: Room W180, 1 Wellington Building, 1 Wellington St.


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