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  • Recent Posts on Crime Victim Rights, Violence Prevention and Smart Policing

  • Policing in the 21st Century and Smarter Crime Control: What shifts policy to cost effective public safety?

    Compared to 50 years ago, health policy has led to much longer life expectancy. Technology has led to a much easier life. But criminal justice policy has only recently been associated with rates of street crime close to those in the 1960´s when the USA had 3 Presidential Commissions on violence. We are also now more aware that intimate partner and sexual violence is much more rampant than debated 50 years ago.

    Recent innovations in Canada and evidence based initiatives in the USA suggest that a shift in policy could reduce interpersonal violent crime by 50% or more combined with huge savings in tax expenditures. So what do we know about how to make this shift? To what extent will these innovations and initiatives lead to application of the evidence and so less interpersonal violent crime and greater public safety at less cost? Will they achieve the potential for a 50% reduction in street crime and intimate partner and sexual violence? Will they reduce taxes on crime and justice by $6 billion in Canada and $75 billion in the USA?

    The CCA Panel on the Future of Policing Canada in the 21st century emphasized that policing is just one player in reducing interpersonal violence and providing public safety. The book on Smarter Crime Control reviewed the accumulated evidence on cost effective public safety to show that (i) specific policing strategies that are pro-active and in partnerships to be effective and (ii) that many pre-crime prevention investments are proven to be more cost effective in preventing much of violent crime.

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    Time to shift from ¨punishment only¨ agenda to ¨victim centred and prevention¨ agenda

    President Obama affirmed that $80 billion would be better used not for mass incarceration but for pre-school, teachers and university entrance. This is only part of the conclusions from the data and best practices brought together in Smarter Crime Control. Importantly the US federal government could provide funding to States to enable them to invest in effective violence prevention and so reduce their use of mass incarceration. Getting Smarter Crime Control in the US is important but the knowledge and the logic apply to Canada, China, Latin America and across the world.

    Irvin Waller calls for genuine action to stop victimization and provide rights for victims. When the World Society of Victimology made him an ¨Honorary Member¨ this July for his significant accomplishments in the victimological field, he called on the next generations of victimologists to build on those accomplishments by shifting governments from their outdated punishment only agenda to a genuine victim centred and prevention agenda.

    This is a unique moment in human history. We now have the knowledge endorsed by organizations such as WHO and UN-Habitat to cut violent victimization by 50%. We have the models of best practices to show that it is possible to do it. We have US politicians realising that extraordinary over use of incarceration has not worked. Put it all together … if governments invested just 1/10th of one per cent of world GDP in making the shift to effective violence prevention and rights for victims, they would cut in half the 5% of world GDP lost to violence.

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    Let´s prevent violence against women and girls – we have more knowledge than we think

    It is time for developed and developing countries alike to take the issues of the prevention of gender based violence seriously by investing in what will stop the violence and assist the victims to survive better.

    We have evidence on what works and how to implement it, but we are not using it. Currently victims experience pain and loss equivalent to 5% of GDP for inter-personal violence in developed countries and much higher in many less affluent countries. Yet the evidence shows that a relatively small investment – maybe 2/10th of one percent of GDP – would reduce violence by 50% within 10 years.

    The critical implementation steps require a shift from over-relying on what does not work to investing in what has been proven to work. It must also include greater investment in (secondary) pre-crime prevention programs that follow a ¨logical model¨ to reduce violence against women and children. The World Health Organization is providing leadership to help governments make the shifts in orientation and resources.

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  • ORDER BOOKS

    • Rights for Victims of Crime:  Rebalancing Justice
    • Smarter Crime Control: A Guide to a Safer Future for Citizens, Communities, and Politicians