Giving Compass’ Take:
• Lorena Allam reports that community policing efforts in Bourke, New South Wales have dramatically reduced crime and recidivism by addressing underlying causes.
• How can funders support grassroots efforts to reduce crime? What social programs have the greatest impact on crime and recidivism rates?
• Learn how access to healthcare can reduce crime.
The rates of major crime, domestic violence, and drug offenses have all dropped in the far western New South Wales town of Bourke, five years on from a groundbreaking, community-led campaign to address the underlying causes of crime.
Bourke is one of the most disadvantaged communities in Australia, with high long-term unemployment and family violence, and the highest rate of juvenile convictions in NSW.
The Maranguka project is a local initiative, the largest of its kind in Australia, based on redirecting the resources spent on policing and punishment to projects that help prevent offending behavior.
Figures released on Monday by Maranguka show that in Bourke between 2015 and 2017 rates fell by:
- 18% for major offenses
- 34% for non-domestic violence-related assaults
- 39% for domestic violence related assaults
- 39% for drug offenses
- 35% for driving offenses
Rates of reoffending also dropped significantly. There was a 72% reduction in the number of people under 25 arrested for driving without a license.
A key initiative under the Maranguka project has been to help more than 200 mostly young people obtain a driving license.
While he couldn’t pinpoint the causes, Insp Hurst said there had been a noticeable improvement over the past 12 months, as collaboration between the community and police has increased.
“We have more ability to connect services to people who need them, rather than arresting people who have underlying issues.”
Read the full article about community policing by Lorena Allam at The Guardian.
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