Australian communities are developing innovative and effective community-based projects that help to reduce and prevent crime and violence in all their forms. The annual Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards aim to encourage public initiative and help governments develop practical programs to prevent and reduce crime and provide recognition to projects that have been particularly effective. In recognition of the police contribution to crime prevention, in 2006 awards were presented for the first time to two police specific projects or initiatives. There were four national community award winning projects announced for 2006, with the winners receiving a certificate of merit and $10,000 in funding.
The winning programs from the community sector were:
- Chance on Main (Tas) - Designed for 'difficult' youths aged from 14 to19 years who are perceived to be at risk of committing crime and antisocial behaviour, or becoming homeless and disconnected from their family. The program provides high profile community and sporting personalities as mentors, and counselling as well as individual and family support.
- Gove Peninsula Community Patrol (NT) - Working closely with other support agencies, local Yolgnu women staff patrols and work to reduce the impact of alcohol abuse in their community by providing information, advice and support to at risk members.
- Make it Work: Employment and Mentoring Program (Vic) - Dealing with the problems offenders confront when reentering the community, the program provides employment, vocational training assistance, referrals and other support to bailees from the Melbourne magistrates court.
- Residential Beef Production Training Program (NT) - The four week training program covers a variety of skills related to beef cattle production and aims to engage its participants in gainful employment or further training. It is intended that program graduates can help decrease antisocial and offending behaviour by acting as role models for the community.
The winning programs from the police sector were:
- Homelands Partnership (Qld) - The project is concerned with homelessness in the central business district of Cairns and related issues of public drunkenness, antisocial behaviour and public fears about crime. An agreement with local liquor stores was made not to sell wine casks before 4pm to reduce public drunkenness. Outstanding fines were also allowed to be paid in instalments in order to reduce crimes such as stealing and begging.
- Northern Territory Police Violent Crime Reduction Strategy (VCRS) (NT) - This strategy aims to reduce domestic violence by improving police response times to domestic violence calls, education and early intervention. Targeting offenders early in their cycle of offending, perpetrators' behaviours are monitored and action taken before violence occurs.