Under the Criminal Code (Section 467.1), Organized Crime is defined as being composed of three or more persons, having as one of its main purposes a serious offence likely to result in a financial benefit. So, just about any type of illicit activity can be undertaken by organized crime groups, as long as there is money to be made. Identity theft, human trafficking, sex crimes against children, credit card fraud and counterfeit goods, just to name a few, can, and often do have links to organized crime.
Organized crime affects the daily lives of Canadians. You may not be aware of it, but it can affect the taxes you pay (tax revenue losses from contraband tobacco and alcohol); your car insurance premiums (higher auto insurance due to car thefts by organized crime rings); your banking fees (banks recovering fraud costs); even your safety and health (drug-related violence, faulty counterfeit goods, and neighborhood marihuana grow operations). In terms of economic-related crimes (e.g. credit & debit card fraud), it is estimated that organized crime costs Canadians $5 billion every year; that translate into $600 a year for a family of four.
Globalization and rapid advances in technology have contributed to the expansion and internationalization of organized crime activities; Canadians can easily fall victim to organized crime groups operating outside of our borders, (identity theft, internet, e-mail scams, phishing, etc.), making it a global problem that cannot be fought solely within our borders.
The violence and corrupting effect of organized crime groups are mainstays of primary activities, which greatly affect every Canadian's right to safety and security.
The RCMP is committed to safe homes and safe communities for all Canadians, and to accomplish this we identified the fight against organized crime as a strategic priority in 2001. Using an intelligence-led, integrated approach, the RCMP is focusing its activities on reducing the threat and impact of organized crime. In fulfilling its mandate, the RCMP is working closely with domestic and international partners in a sustained effort to dismantle today's criminal groups. To contribute to a successful outcome, the RCMP will:
Anything that impacts the fabric of Canadian society could be considered a threat to national security. The RCMP will focus its efforts on: espionage or sabotage against Canada; foreign influenced activities detrimental to the interests of Canada; activities directed toward or in support of the threat or use of acts of serious violence against Canadians for political, religious or ideological objectives; and, activities leading to the destruction or overthrow by violence of the government of Canada.
The greatest threat to Canada's national security is the threat of terrorist criminal activity in Canada and abroad. The RCMP's role is to prevent, detect, deny and respond to this criminal activity. There is an organizational necessity to ensure that our response to the threat of terrorist criminal activity is strategically aligned, focused and centrally controlled by National Headquarters. We need to ensure capacity and capability to achieve a multifaceted approach including outreach/awareness at all levels of policing with communities and partners, prevention, strategic analysis, information/intelligence sharing, and enforcement.
Our investigative successes are largely determined by our flexibility, leadership and collaboration with foreign and domestic law enforcement partners. We must continue to become more proactive and responsive in accordance with the level of threat.
This end-state can be achieved by maintaining a nation-wide integrated National Security Criminal Investigations Program; by continuously improving our information sharing practices with other federal agencies and partners consistent with current policies; by developing outreach and education strategies that will lead to the engagement of stakeholders across the country and assist Canadians in avoiding being victimized; and, by ensuring the situational awareness of the RCMP Senior Executive and the Government of Canada on the status of the threat environment.
Finally, we must also enhance our abilities to evaluate lessons learned to better equip the RCMP to prevent, detect, deny and respond to criminal activity.
The RCMP is committed to working in partnership with both domestic and foreign agencies to enhance prevention measures against terrorist criminal activity in Canada and abroad.
The RCMP National Security strategy will "Conduct focused and effective criminal investigations".
One of the RCMP's five strategic priorities is to reduce youth involvement in crime, whether as victims or offenders. The current priority issues are bullying and cyberbullying, impaired and distracted driving, substance abuse, and youth violence.
In order to reduce youth crime and victimization, the RCMP aims to:
To help achieve these goals, the RCMP focuses on: 1) Outreach and Engagement and 2) Intervention and Diversion.
|Outreach and Engagement||Intervention and Diversion|
|Increasing youth awareness and influencing youth behavior through behaviour modeling, mentoring, active learning and engaging youth to positively influence their peers, school and community.||Intervening with youth offenders and victims of crime to address underlying causes of crime and victimization through direct programming, multi-agency partnerships and referrals to community programs.|
Every province and territory has an RCMP Youth Officer who supports the development of national youth policy and programs, and oversees local initiatives. These officers are trained through the National Youth Officer Program. This program provides education and awareness to officers working with youth on the causes of youth crime and victimization and what police officers and youth can do to prevent it.
The RCMP's Centre for Youth Crime Prevention website provides police officers and adults working with youth with tools and resources to assist them in their interactions with youth in schools and the community. The Centre for Youth Crime Prevention encourages effective youth engagement and provides resources on youth crime and victimization issues such as bullying, Internet safety, dating violence and impaired driving, among others.
It is important that young people have the opportunity to provide their perspective on issues that affect them since they are believed to be key players in the prevention of crime in communities. Understanding their perspective enables police officers to interact more effectively with and better understand youth. The RCMP National Youth Advisory Committee brings together youth from all over Canada to discuss important issues that they face in their respective communities, while providing valuable input to the RCMP's policies, programs and strategies.
The RCMP believes that long-term prevention of youth crime and victimization can only be accomplished in partnership with the community. For this reason, the RCMP works closely with local organizations and social services so that young people who come into contact with the police, as either victims or offenders, receive the help they need to overcome the challenges in their lives.
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Contributing to safer and healthier Aboriginal communities is one of the five strategic priorities of the RCMP. Delivering culturally competent police services provides the foundation necessary to build relationships and partnerships with the more than 600 Aboriginal communities we serve.
Our shared and unique history with Canada's Aboriginal peoples provides an environment in which we can work collaboratively to improve community health and wellness. We are committed to continue building upon these relationships as we encourage, sustain and foster honest and open dialogue among our Aboriginal partners. As we work together, the RCMP is in a position to assist and advocate for Aboriginal communities at a local and national level.
The types of crimes driven by the motivation for profit are extensive and certainly not victimless. Illegal economic activity either robs or diverts funds away from hard-working Canadians. The confidence of Canadian consumers and investors in their economy can be shaken – their economic security undermined and their trust in institutions put at risk. Examples of crimes that impact Canada's Economic Integrity include:
The nature of crimes that affect the economy is rapidly changing. In the face of globalization and technological progress, criminals are operating beyond jurisdictions using sophisticated and continuously-evolving methods to find victims. Law enforcement plays an important role in strengthening and preserving the security and economic interests of Canada. However, maintaining Canada's Economic Integrity is a complex issue that must be tackled in cooperation with other law enforcement agencies, governments at all levels, the private sector and our international partners. Together, we must work to ensure that Canadians have confidence in their financial, currency and market systems.
The RCMP will adopt Economic Integrity as a new strategic priority for 2006-2007 with a focus on preventing, detecting and deterring crimes that affect the Canadian economy. Education, awareness and enforcement initiatives to support the priority will be drawn from existing and newly-developed programs. We will continue to work with key partners and consult and engage our communities in driving out this new priority, with a strategic focus on the counterfeiting of currency and on corruption wherever it might occur.
Economic Integrity refers to consumer and investor confidence in that Canada is a safe and secure place to conduct business, invest and save money. It is where consumers and investors have confidence in Canada's financial, currency and marketing systems.
When consumers and investors become victims of economic crimes, their confidence is weakened in the system. As an example, individuals could be more fearful of using certain methods of payment, even when the commerce that is being conducted is legitimate and secure.
The RCMP is involved in preventing and detecting crimes that can affect Canada's Economic Integrity. These include:
Research and environmental trends indicated that this was an area of concern. The nature of crimes that affect the economy has been rapidly changing. In the face of globalization and technological progress, criminals are operating beyond jurisdictions, using sophisticated and continuously-evolving methods to find victims.
There are already several activities related to Economic Integrity and we are looking at what else the RCMP can do in this area. The priority is still in its infancy and the RCMP is currently undertaking planning activities to roll-out the priority for the 2006-2007 fiscal year.
Law enforcement agencies play a critical role in strengthening and preserving the security and economic interests of Canada. The RCMP's role in contributing to Canada's Economic Integrity involves education, awareness and enforcement to prevent, detect and deter crimes that affect the Canadian economy.
The RCMP already undertakes a number of activities that contribute to the new priority, in cooperation with our partners. These include:
There are five RCMP strategic priorities that impact RCMP planning and operations.
The RCMP conducts strategic planning and performance management in relation to its priorities. When undertaking strategic planning activities, if something is a priority, initiatives will be linked to it. A critical component of this planning activity involves consulting our community partners on activities surrounding priorities in the interest of ensuring that our goals are aligned.
Canadian communities are diverse in nature and therefore face different challenges. For example, one community's key area of interest related to Economic Integrity could be currency counterfeiting, while another's could be mass marketing fraud.
Each strategic priority has a dedicated working group at RCMP headquarters that is championed by a Deputy Commissioner.
Our current funding will be allocated to ensure that it meets the requirements of this new priority. Planning continues to be underway, and as such, no exact determinations have been made about how funding for the new priority will be directed.
To support Canada 's Economic Integrity in our diverse communities, the current initiatives available to law enforcement could be augmented by new initiatives designed to respond to different circumstances and needs.
There are aspects of the Economic Integrity priority that are not covered in the Organized Crime priority. For example, groups of individuals that commit crimes are not necessarily classified as "organized crime". As well, Organized Crime does not take into account crimes committed by individuals that affect the economy. For one, computer hackers that look for personal financial information are not necessarily organized criminals nor are individuals who manipulate stocks.
It is up to the courts to decide the most appropriate punishment in any case. However, the enforcement and penal system are a joint responsibility of all members of the justice system; therefore, we must work in cooperation with the courts as well as other law enforcement agencies. Maintaining Canada's Economic Integrity is a complex issue that must be tackled in cooperation with other law enforcement, multiple orders of government and our international partners.