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Crime prevention through social
To discuss crime as a community
health issue and to discuss
prevention strategies
Crime rates according to the
NSW Bureau of Crime Stats.
3 people murdered in NSW each year
12000 robbed
150,000 assaulted or threatened
131,000 home broken into
46,000 vehicles stolen
BUT statistics may reflect community level
of confidence in police activities
Half of offenders in NSW courts
below the age of 25
• Much white collar crime goes unreported
and unpunished
• The majority of other crime appears to be
committed by young males. US experience
suggests that if there is a rise in the
proportion of adolescent males in the
population, there is an increase in crime
Young offenders
• Most offenders appear only once
• The younger the offender, the more likely
they will re-offend
• Young people have the highest rates of
crime victimisation and there is a
relationship between being a victim and
perpetrator of crime
A variety of crime prevention
options need to be used
• For domestic violence a variety of options
for protecting the vulnerable need to be
used. A purely punitive process is likely to
entrench anger, violence and family poverty.
Community based management, education
and treatment strategies need to be set up.
Risk factors for poor parenting
• Living in poverty on in a neighbourhood
where there is poverty
• Single motherhood
• Having children when very young
NSW Standing committee on law
and justice prevention principles
• Community participation at all states of
• Locally based management rather than
distant bureaucracy
• Community ownership of improvements
• Adequate resources for improvements
• Effective sanctions against the disruptive
Models of crime prevention
• Early intervention: perinatal home visiting
programs, family support, child and respite
• Community development: Local govt. crime
prevention plans and place management
• Environment: Street lighting, formal or
informal surveillance, building security
Models of crime prevention
• Law enforcement: investigating and
arresting offenders to prevent repeat
• To keep a person in prison for a day in 1999
cost approx. $160. In comparison NSW
Probation and parole supervised 13000 at
the cost of $3.50 to $5.50 per person per
Primary and secondary
• Primary targets a general population of
potential offenders and/or victims
• Secondary prevention target groups most at
risk of victimisation or offending
• Tertiary programs are targeted at those
already convicted or attacked
Plan prevention broadly
• Reduce the level of economic stress
• Prevent geographic concentration of
poverty so as to reduce influence of
delinquent peers
• Introduce family and child support
programs to prevent social and economic
stress exerting disruptive influence on
Lessons from the US
• Sesame Street produced in the US in the
1960s as part of President Johnson’s War on
Poverty. It included home tutoring and
other support for pre-schoolers
• Sesame Street shown all around the world
• Once guns reach a critical mass you can’t
get rid of them. Ban them now in Aust.
The US Dept. of Justice
• For infants: frequent home visits by health
or related professionals
• For pre-schoolers: Classes with weekly
home visits by pre-school teachers
• For schools: Organisation development for
innovation. Communication and
reinforcement of clear, consistent norms.
• Teaching social competency
NSW crime prevention leg.
• Children (Protection and Parental
Responsibilities)Act (1997) limits the right
of parents to physically discipline children
and empowers local councils and police to
take children off the streets
• Young Offenders Act (1997) options for
dealing with young offenders outside the
Drug court
• Provides opportunities for those convicted
of drug crimes to receive treatment and
rehabilitation for their problems
• Methadone reduces crime and allows clients
to retain stability and social support
NSW Victims Compensation Act
• A person is eligible to obtain compensation
if they can prove they are the victim of an
act of violence and are injured as a result
• They may obtain compensation for injuries,
medical and related expenses, loss of
earnings, and recompense for lost, stolen or
damaged personal items (Counseling also)
Mentoring programs run by NSW
Dept. of Juvenile Justice
Expected program outcomes are:
Better family relationships
Reduced drug and alcohol abuse
Reduced involvement in crime and violence
Reduced truancy and early school leaving
Improved training and job prospects
Mentoring requires
• Responsiveness to the idea of mentoring
• Willingness to participate
• Few links to youth and other support
services within and outside the family
• Difficulties which a mentoring relationship
could address
Fukuyama (1992)
• Sees the quest for recognition as the central
engine of history which he defines as the
evolution of ideology and government. The
‘end of history’ is a form of government
where nation states do not go to war, but
face strong internal demands by their
citizens whose human rights include the
dignity of recognition.
Braithwaite on crime
• A low crime society will be strong on rights
and strong on responsibilities, and
especially strong on responsibilities to
disapprove when the rights of others are
crushed. A low crime society is
characterised by active community
engagement with defending the institutions
of freedom.
UN Declaration of Basic
Principles on Restorative justice
• The restorative process is any process in
which the victim, the offender and/or any
other individuals or community members
affected by a crime participate actively
together in the resolution of matters arising
from the crime, often with the help of a fair
and impartial third party
Strang & Braithwaite (2001)
• Restorative justice does not subordinate
emotion to dispassionate judgment. Nor
does it subordinate emotion to bureaucratic
routine. Space is created for the free
expression of emotions however irrational
they may seem. If emotions are deeply felt,
their relational perspective requires that
they be heard and attended to.
Steps in Peace building
Identify the issue
Build ideas about why it happened
Choose one or two ideas to try out
Build a program, based on the ideas, to
resolve the issue
• See what happens when the program is tried
• Improve the program – share what you learn
Reparation includes:
Acknowledgement and apology
Guarantee against repetition
Measures of restitution
Measures of rehabilitation
Monetary compensation
(May need to be seen as affecting
communities, rather than individuals)