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Prevention Without Politics? The Cyclical Progress of Crime Prevention in an Australian State

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 325-344
Adam Sutton; Adrian Cherney
George Mair, Tim Newburn
Date Published
August 2002
20 pages
This article summarizes the history of crime prevention from 1988 to the present in the State of Victoria, Australia, and documents the strength and weaknesses of each program implemented, arguing that community safety has been a changeable movement, accommodating itself to a wide range of political and administrative regimes.
The Good Neighbor Crime Programme, implemented in 1988 in Victoria, was a pioneering rediscovery of community-based crime prevention and was the first of a series of such strategies which incorporated the expressive and political dimensions of community safety and crime prevention. The idea that central and local authorities can work cooperatively to identify and address causes of offending, using evidence-based studies based on what works, and moving away from the eliminative ideal that getting rid of troublesome people will get rid of crime, has taken hold in Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. This article assesses the relevance of the pros and cons of this ideal in one Australian jurisdiction. Victoria took the lead in implementing pilot programs such as The Good Neighbor Programme which was based upon a local needs analysis and focused on youth activities. However, no evaluation was done to measure the impact of this program. A Safer Communities pilot program was also implemented in which a local project officer conducted research into local perceptions of crime, conducted safety audits and workshops for elderly people, convened public forums on violence against women, initiated ant-graffiti projects, and attempted to insure that municipal planning incorporated crime prevention principles, lobbied for increased police foot patrols, and conducted forums with traders to improve physical environments in shopping centers. A transition project entitled Safer Cities and Shires, emphasized agency partnerships and regional plans but left detailed plans to each community by means of a consultation process, resulting eventually in a project with emphasis on crime prevention rather than a broad community health and safety approach. In conclusion, it is noted that success in the field of crime prevention may depend on more than simply discovering and demonstrating what works and becoming comfortable with the fact of the influence of political vision and agency and the contingencies and difficulties associated with implementing a crime prevention plan. References