Individuals who are experiencing poverty can have a complicated relationship with the notions of safety and security. Statistics Canada has reported a correlation between homelessness and criminal victimization (Statistics Canada, 2014). Indigenous peoples, especially women, and individuals with poor mental health have also been found to have higher reportings of victimization (Statistics Canada, 2014).
The role of law enforcement agencies is to protect communities from things such as gang violence. However, gang violence intersects with factors such as poverty and racism. Racialized individuals who are experiencing poverty may turn to gangs as a way of finding community and safety. Comack and Silver (2006) note that there needs to be a dialogue in order to bridge the divide between communities and police when it comes to safety. Comack and Silver (2006) call on police to not be an outside force that occasionally comes into communities to bring order. Instead, police would be better served to be a “community force engaged in rebuilding” (Comack & Silver, 2006, p.4).