Australian Institute of Criminology

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Improving crime prevention knowledge and practice

Media Release

10 December 2009

A new research paper looking at the most recent Australian and international experience of crime prevention and offering a way forward in tackling the underlying causes of crime has been released today by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC).

The AIC estimates that the current annual cost of crime is $36 billion in Australia and, although we have experienced significant declines in almost all categories of crime over the past decade, Improving crime prevention knowledge and practice suggests a considerable level of that cost could be reduced or prevented.

AIC Crime Prevention Research Manager, Peter Homel, says implementing and sustaining effective and efficient crime prevention initiatives can contribute significantly to safe and secure societies, but he argues research demonstrates that the effectiveness of many initiatives is hampered by a lack of access to adequate crime prevention knowledge and technical skills.

"For too long, crime prevention has been approached as an activity that is an adjunct to the main game of investigating, prosecuting and punishing crime," Mr Homel said.

"However, research shows that crime prevention is optimally effective when it is embraced as an activity in its own right with specific objectives.

"In particular, the internationalisation of crime has highlighted the need for renewed efforts to increase the efficiency of knowledge transfer, skills development, project management, and crime prevention performance measurement and evaluation."

The paper suggests the development of a comprehensive national strategy for delivering technical assistance to Australia's diverse crime prevention workforce to improve performance and effectiveness and prepare for new and emerging issues.

"This should focus on improving workforce skills and organisational development and strengthening and improving the effective dissemination of the crime prevention evidence base," Mr Homel said.

To view the paper visit www.aic.gov.au

AIC media contact: Caterina Giugovaz Telephone: 02 6260 9226; Mobile: 0418 221 798.