A new poll finds the majority (63 per cent) of Canadians would rather see investment in social welfare strategies instead of increasing police presence in high crime areas.
The poll, conducted by the not-for-profit Angus Reid Institute, finds that while calls to simply reduce police department budgets are not widely supported, structural change is desired by many.
One-quarter of respondents say that police funding should be reduced where they live, but this proportion rises to 38 per cent in Greater Toronto, and 36 per cent in Winnipeg.
When it comes to the criminal justice system, six-in-10 (59 per cent) Canadians say it should prioritize crime prevention and the rehabilitation of criminals over longer sentences to punish them.
Indigenous and visible minority perspectives
Nearly two-in-five Canadians also say there is a “serious problem” with the way police interact with Black, Indigenous and other non-white people across the country. Three-quarters (73 per cent) say police in Canada interact inappropriately with non-white people at least some of the time.
Indigenous respondents are most likely to say that there is a serious problem at all levels of policing when it comes to the way they and Black people are treated; 44 per cent say this is a major issue, compared to 39 per cent of Caucasian respondents.
"Residents of urban areas are twice as likely to say there is a serious problem with police treatment of non-white people in their own community (29 per cent) as residents of rural areas (14 per cent)," read the report.
The poll also finds that three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians feel police officers are not held accountable when they abuse power.
Read the full report, here.