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December 28, 2013
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Crime-prevention strategies to be strengthened in 2014

Crime-prevention strategies to be strengthened in 2014

Come 2014, the Government will be strengthening its crime- prevention strategies by focusing on community policing and other measures outlined in the National Crime Prevention and Community Safety Strategy (NCPCSS).

Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Director of Crime Prevention and Community Safety in the Ministry of National Security, Courtney Brown, said the ministry had recognised that additional attention needed to be paid to approaches that emphasised prevention.

He noted that for some time, the focus had been on crime control, however, he was of the view that prevention strategies, combined with law-enforcement approaches, would yield more positive results.

Mixed results

"Crime control has been our traditional approach and has produced mixed results over the years. In the most recent times, there has been a reduction in the national homicide rate from 62 per 100,000 in 2009 to 40 per 100,000 at the end of 2012. This was achieved primarily, but not solely, through enhanced law-enforcement approaches," Brown said.

He said greater emphasis would be placed on engaging communities in crime-prevention programmes.

This will be done through strategies such as community policing; restorative justice and alternative dispute resolution; violence-prevention interventions; trauma management; victim support; and child-diversion measures.

There will also be strengthening of school-safety management capacities, life-skills programmes, vocational skills, and employability for at-risk categories.

"The behaviour change campaign 'Unite For Change', recently launched by portfolio Minister Peter Bunting, is evidence of this priority to increase the community's involvement in preventing crime," Brown said.

Prevention strategies

A National Conference on Youth Violence as well as a new Citizen Security and Justice Programme, which will continue into 2017, are among the early prevention strategies that will be rolled out by the Government, with the support of international partners.

Brown noted that the crime-prevention measures were being co-ordinated at the highest level through the Public Order Committee of Cabinet.

"These strategies are being supported by a technical working group of key ministries, departments, and agencies, namely Ministry of Education, Labour and Social Security, Youth and Culture, Health, and Justice," he stated.

The director of crime prevention and community safety stressed that crime reduction required behaviour change, which does not happen in the short term, rather, the results would come over the medium-to long-term period following implementation of the various measures.

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