Local Crime Prevention: ‘Breathing Life (Back) into Social Democratic and Penal Welfare Concerns’?
Fieldwork in the inner-Sydney postcode area of Glebe (New South Wales, Australia) sought to understand how local community workers conceptualise crime causation and the approaches adopted to prevent crime. Observation of more than 30 inter-agency meetings, 15 interviews and two focus groups with diverse local workers revealed that social-welfare or ‘root’ causes of crime were central to explanations of local crime. Numerous crime prevention measures in the area respond directly to these understandings of crime (a youth diversion program on Friday and Saturday evenings, an alternative education program, a police-youth exercise program, and so on). While other more surveillant forms of crime prevention were evident, the findings of this research suggest a significant social-welfare orientation to crime prevention. These findings echo Brown’s (2012) observations of the resilience of penal-welfarism in Australia.
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