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Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver

September 20 , 2019 | 20 Elul 5779 | Candlelighting at 6:56 p.m.

This message has 790 words and takes about 3 minutes to read.

Dear Chaverim,
As we enter the new year of 5780 in the Jewish calendar, we can reflect with pride on the accomplishments we have achieved in the area of community security.
When Jewish Federation formed its Community Security Advisory Committee in 2015, we had some very practical goals that we wanted to meet, but even more importantly, we wanted to create a culture of security consciousness across the community so that community agencies would have the tools and resources they needed and would be proactive about identifying security risks and implementing security policies and protocols to address those risks.
We knew that this could only be done if the agencies had access to a security professional who could provide the necessary expertise. That is why our committee was convinced that we needed to hire a Director of Community Security. With the support of the Jewish Federation board and many generous community donors, the necessary funds were raised to hire Daniel Heydenrich in 2017.
Improved Security Consciousness and Training Across the Community
Two years later, we can see the positive results. There has been a significant change in how our community institutions approach security, the security awareness of community members has been raised, and the overall security consciousness of the community has been elevated. We appreciate how so many communal professionals and volunteers have joined with us to move this important work forward.
This past year, we offered over 22 separate security training sessions throughout the Lower Mainland and over 160 volunteers and front-line staff attended these sessions. We are developing a series of training modules so that over time, people can expand their knowledge of how to help prevent an incident and improve their understanding of how to react in the event of a security breach. Organizations are contacting us more quickly with security concerns, to report graffiti, or to request Daniel’s advice.
Law Enforcement, Federal Funding & The Volunteer Cadre
Our relationships with local law enforcement and the responses we are receiving from them have never been better. For example, following the tragic incidents in Pittsburgh and Poway, both the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP responded immediately and provided a strong police presence at all of our institutions for a number of days following the incidents at no charge to our community. More importantly, Daniel was able to connect with every institution and ensure that their security measures were appropriate. 
Furthermore, with Daniel’s assistance, we have had the highest ever rate of successful federal government Security Infrastructure Program (SIP) grant applications. Thirteen of the fourteen institutions that submitted applications with Daniel’s help have received some level of funding. We are continuing to encourage organizations to apply for SIP funds from the federal government to enable them to maximize their security upgrades.
Our efforts to create a volunteer cadre have evolved. We have learned that rather than create a community-wide initiative, we are more successful offering on-site training to interested institutions and providing guidance and support to the volunteers whether they are greeters or actual security volunteers. 
Increase in Reported Hate Crimes
Over the past year, there has been much discussion about the significantly increased number of reported hate crimes directed toward various minority groups in the Lower Mainland. We have seen evidence of this rising nationally and internationally, and it has been shocking to learn that Vancouver has the highest report rate of hate crimes of all Canadian cities. While we are very fortunate that there have been no serious recent incidents directed toward our community, it is important that we continue to grow our security consciousness so that community organizations and individual members have the knowledge and resources to respond proactively to reduce the risk of a tragic incident occurring here.
Our Focus Moving Forward
Going forward, we intend to focus on several key items that we believe will elevate community safety even more. We are updating the cyber-security best practices documents which will be distributed to community agencies over the next few weeks. More training sessions will be scheduled over the coming months focused on topics such as defusing people with mental health issues, and we want to make sure that every institution runs at least one evacuation or lock down drill. Daniel is happy to work with any organization interested in scheduling practice drills and will invite local law enforcement to observe and provide feedback. Finally, we intend to revise the emergency preparedness handbook that we developed two years ago to make it more user-friendly and enable many more organizations to create their own plans.
Thank you!
We are deeply grateful to the professionals, the volunteers, and the donors who are truly committed to community security and have contributed so much to keep our community safe.

Wishing you all a shana tova tikatevu and Shabbat shalom,

Ezra S. Shanken 
Chief Executive Officer
Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver

Bernard Pinsky
Chair, Community Security Advisory Committee
Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver