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CriminologyTV encore of the crime prevention keynotes

Last month over 250 violence and crime prevention researchers and practitioners converged at the Melbourne Convention Centre. We heard keynotes and papers across a wide spectrum of topics on the prevention of crime and violence – problems that are at the forefront of social instability, poor health outcomes, family dysfunction, and social dislocation, not to mention the immense cost to the community in terms of economic loss, and the cost of justice and corrections.

The keynote addresses of this major conference are now available on the AIC’s CriminologyTV.

Several keynote speakers presented on some of the best crime prevention outcomes from the past 20 years: for example the opening address was from Scottish violence prevention expert Karyn Mccluskey on her policing and intervention programs that are successfully tackling the culturally engrained gang problems that made Scotland one of the most violent countries in Europe.

From the US, Professor Richard Catalano, Professor for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Washington University, discussed the suite of Communities that Care programs which are used around the world to help communities themselves intervene to prevent crime and poor health outcomes. Professor Catalano addressed the evaluations of programs that have proved successful.

The challenges of a broad-based change-management program  were discussed by Superintendent Bruce Bird, New Zealand Police National Crime Prevention Manager who ensured crime prevention was directly embedded into the operational policing tool-kit available to NZ police.

On violence against women, Heather Nancarrow, Chief Executive of Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS), took delegates through the policy past and into the policy future of countering domestic violence, and the task ahead for ANROWS.

Professor Nick Tilley, Director of the University College London Security Science Research Training Centre, led delegates through his rich trove of research and personal insight and experience on problem solving, policing, and situational crime.

Dr Julie Rudner, from the Community Planning and Development Program, La Trobe University,  took delegates through the paradox  of risk and safety in public places and “How safe is ‘safe enough’”.

Image: Professor Richard Catalano

Many other conference presentations are available on the AIC website where you can read many presentations: from exponents of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design; research into CCTV; the night time economy and community empowerment. There are also presentations from local governments such as the cities of Sydney and Melbourne on their projects to make their communities safe, and presentations from crisis and health centre practitioners and a plethora of other crime prevention exponents.

And photographs of the event are available on our Flickr page:

Posted: 11 July 2014 | | | | | |

New AIC Crime Prevention Handbook to Tackle Property Damage 

Business groups and local governments are always looking for the best methods to prevent vandalism against property, whether the damage is caused by tagging with spray paint, break-ins aimed at trashing a property, or window smashing.

Such malicious property damage serves no purpose, but it has an estimated cost of $1,522 per incident (in 2012 dollars) and a total cost to the Australian community of nearly $2 billion each year.

The cost is borne not only by private property owners, local and state governments and businesses, but is also passed on through insurance costs to the public.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Crime Victimisation Survey 2011–2012, malicious property damage was more common than any other property offence, with 7.5 percent of respondents reporting having been a victim in the previous 12 months.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has just released a national guide: Tackling property damage: A guide for local commerce groups, councils and police in support of the Government’s broader Safer Streets program.

While many categories of crime are on the decline, an unfortunate fact is that property damage – vandalism and graffiti - still remain an intractable problem for property owners, business and local governments.

The guide highlights good research, planning, consultation and evaluation measures, with different strategies for specific problems.

This guide helps local groups understand:

  • the importance of crime data and where to find it
  • how to analyse local problems
  • enhancements that can be made around the built environment and security, and
  • evaluating the solutions.

Under the Government’s Safer Streets Program the intention is to provide communities with tools to assist them to develop the best local strategies to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

This step-by-step guide compiled by the AIC provides a plan to develop strategies for commercial groups and local Governments to head off the possibility of property damage of all kinds.

Image: An example of graffiti

Based on work commissioned by the NSW Government’s Department of Attorney-General and Justice, the AIC, through its Crime Prevention ASSIST program, has broadened the content of this handbook to assist property owners around Australia.

This is a valuable reference and guide for community commerce groups, chambers of commerce, and local governments everywhere in Australia.

By AIC Deputy Director (Research), Dr Rick Brown

Crime Prevention ASSIST website

Posted: 1 July 2014 | | | | | |

Amphetamine use increasing among Australian police detainees

Current data from the Australian Institute of Criminology’s (AIC) national long-term drug use monitoring program of police detainees reflects both the high availability and steady rise in amphetamine use.

While the AIC data sources are quite separate from the Australian Crime Commission’s annual Illicit Drug Data Report released earlier this month, the trends reflect a concerning increase in the use of amphetamines in Australia

Since 1999, the AIC’s Drug Use Monitoring Australia (DUMA) program has surveyed drug use among Australian detainees on a quarterly basis via collection and analysis of urine samples and the conduct of interviews.
Since 2009 we have observed a fairly steady rise in amphetamine use among detainees across Australia.

We see variability in use of amphetamine across Australia. Amphetamine use appears to be particularly common among Kings Cross detainees, where the most recent first quarter 2014 survey shows 61 percent of urine samples test positive to amphetamine.

High rates of amphetamine use are also observed in detainees from East Perth (43% of urine samples test positive to amphetamine) and Brisbane (41%). The lowest rates of use are recorded among Adelaide (23%) and Surry Hills (26%) detainees. A variety of factors may underlie these differences including local availability of amphetamine or illicit drug user preference.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 reflecting an overabundance of the substance, Australian detainees rate amphetamine availability at an 8.

On average, Australian detainees rate the current quality of amphetamine at a 7, on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 reflecting excellent quality or high purity.

Nationally, Forty-six percent of property offenders sampled and 47 percent of drug offenders sampled tested positive for amphetamines. Twenty-eight percent of violent offenders tested positive to amphetamine, as did 20 percent of driving offenders.

Given that amphetamine use, in particular methamphetamine use, has been associated with an increased risk of violence and aggression, a rise in use among the Australian detainee population is of concern.

The 2014 UN Office of Drugs and Crime Assessment also reflect these trends

By AIC research manager Matthew Willis

Posted: 30 May 2014 | | | | | |

MOU signing with Thailand Institute of Justice

Ambassador Adisak Panupong, the Executive Director of the Thailand Institute of Justice TIJ and AIC Director Dr Adam Tomison strengthened the relationship between the two national institutes this week with a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.

The visit of Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of the Kingdom of Thailand to the AIC in 2012 launched this constructive relationship between the AIC and TIJ.

Dr Tomison noted that this latest visit was the “culmination of two years of discussions with the Thailand Institute of Justice towards the development an effective partnership between the agencies.”

Ambassador Adisak was joined on his visit by the Director of the Office of External Relations and Policy Coordination, Mr Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee, and policy advisor, Ms Elena Lopardi. The TIJ delegation also met with AIC staff to discuss issues around trafficking, child justice and crime prevention and program evaluation.

The TIJ was established by royal decree in 2011 and is currently developing its research capacity, and information systems, as part of its brief to strengthen criminological research and crime and justice research activities. 

The MOU, among other matters, lays out a pathway towards research collaboration between the two institutes, and possible future staff secondments.

AIC Director Dr Adam Tomison and Executive Director of the TIJ, Ambassador Adisak Panupong, sign the MOU in Canberra.

Posted: 7 May 2014 | | | | | |