New UN guide aims to boost crime prevention in Caribbean and southern Africa

13 January 2009
UNODC launches crime prevention handbook

With homicides, property crime and sexual assault exponentially higher in the Caribbean and southern Africa than the rest of the world, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today released a handbook on prevention policies for those regions, touching on topics ranging from parenting to policing to technological surveillance.

With homicides, property crime and sexual assault exponentially higher in the Caribbean and southern Africa than the rest of the world, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today released a handbook on prevention policies for those regions, touching on topics ranging from parenting to policing to technological surveillance.

The Handbook on Planning and Action for Crime Prevention in Southern Africa and the Caribbean Regions is meant to help policymakers and practitioners reduce the burden of crime on the poor, according to UNODC.

It asks why Jamaica, for example, has the world’s highest homicide rate, with 54 victims per 100,000 people per year, and why up to 63 per cent of people in some southern African countries have been a victim of crime in the previous calendar year.

It draws on lessons from 40 crime prevention programmes to increase knowledge about levels of crime, successful practices in reducing crime rates in developing countries, and multi-actor crime prevention initiatives.

Though under-development is obviously a factor, it finds no easy correlations between poverty, development levels or inequality and crime among developing countries themselves.

In addition, it says that information on crime rates and the success of anti-crime initiatives is lacking or involves variables that make comparisons difficult in the countries in question, and the Handbook urges further research and in a variety of areas.

According to UNODC, the policy recommendations of the Handbook are based on UN principles that maintain that crime prevention should enhance the rule of law and should serve socio-economic development and inclusion.

Those same principles promote evidence, and not ideology, in the development of policy and partnerships among Governments, civic and business communities

Finally, crime prevention should be community-centred and should be developed and promoted on the basis of sustainability and accountability, UNODC said.

 

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