Tag Archives: balance enforcement and prevention

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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Smarter Crime Control – An Agenda for Action – for 2014!

My new book on Smarter Crime Control uses the evidence on what are effective ways to reduce violent crime to propose an agenda for action to cut violence by 50% and save taxpayers billions – in the USA $100 billion a year.

Current rates of murder, traffic fatalities, drug overdoses, and incarceration are unacceptable in 2014. We have the knowledge and best practices to make them history and reduce the waste of taxes on what has not worked. The book organizes the knowledge to show how to retool policing, improve corrections, and make criminal courts more preventive. It confirms ways to help youth in problem neighborhoods start on a path that does not lead to chronic offending, gang violence, and incarceration. It proposes promising ways to stop violence against women and fatalities on the roads. It shows how cities can take charge of making their neighborhoods safer for less. It is written as A guide to a safer future for citizens, communities, and politicians.

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Violence Spikes in Some of Our Greatest Cities, While Solutions Wait for Action

Shootings involving young men in street gangs are not inevitable, they are preventable. BUT success requires our leaders to be smarter about getting results, particularly by re-balancing funding between smart policing and targeted social development.

Among the key actions for legislators are to:
* Invest now in the proven social development strategies that are able to assist young men in problem places to choose a lifestyle free from handguns. One example is the proposed US Youth Promise Act.
* Encourage cities to take a leadership role in “public health” strategies where smart planning and action have got results, such as reduced inner-city violence as demonstrated by Glasgow in Scotland.

The US Attorney General noted the ¨spike in violence in some of our greatest cities¨. The numbers of young men killed every year underline the need for his ¨smart on crime¨ paradigm shift but the evidence on effective violence prevention calls for bolder ¨smarter crime control¨ that stops the victimization, avoids lives and taxes being wasted, and is consistent with the fundamental right of potential victims to be protected by the best public safety consistent with current knowledge.

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Politicians can invest now in violence prevention – public interest demands it – no more excuses (post 35)

Smart politicians must invest now in proven violence prevention. It is more cost effective than reactive policing and more jails. So the public interest calls for investment in what works to reduce violence, smarter use of current police resources and a shift to prevention from taxes wasted on over-use of jails.

For this investment to remain fiscally neutral, politicians must simultaneously limit the growth of incarceration. We know that a dollar of taxpayers money invested in early childhood or youth prevention will have the same impact on crime as $7 on the operation of prisons.

Politicians can no longer prop-up their inaction on proven violence prevention. It is easy to access the knowledge. It is affordable. Inaction is costing gains in immediate opportunities for at risk youth and long term pain to victims and misspent taxes.

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