Like to know how to create safer communities? Did you know that it’s proven that areas with trees have lower crime rates? It doesn’t take a genius, to figure out why. Communities that look after their local nature area and don’t focus on consumerism and litter, tend to have happier and more relaxed people. And although there is no excuse for a stressed person to commit a crime, it’s obviously that teens who are given nice natural areas to walk and relax (rather than just being obsessed with building skateboarding parks) makes for a happier town.
Towns that are not obsessed with consumerism, are also less likely to be focused on buying the biggest TV, car or boat. And a less consumerist society, means less crime and looting. Why do the looters in riots always go for the TVs and designer trainers? Why not some nice organic broccoli? The latter is more important. It’s the society we have created. Simplifying things always helps.
- We Keep Us Safe is a book on how to address crime in society, without kneejerk reactions. Our current justice system does not bridge divides, which is the solution. Real safety comes from stable healthcare, housing clean air and water. If you hold people accountable in community, everyone can fully engage in society. Get Safe Online has tips to help prevent cyber crime.
- Keep a non-emergency number of your police station to hand (some are not always open) if it’s not an emergency. You can report crimes (anonymously if wished) to Crimestopper. You can find help at Victim Support (also see how to help stop domestic abuse)
- One of the most helpful ways to prevent crime in your community is to hire a designing out crime officer. He or she is specially trained to know where items should be lit (like alleyways) and how to avoid places where attackers could lurk. Just using their knowledge could go a long way to reduce crime, especially in areas where crime is high.
Is Prison Reform Soft on Crime?
No. Despite what the mass media perpetuate, prison reform is not just to do with letting prisoners ‘watch TV all day and get their bills paid’. The reason we have a judicial system is so that the relatives of murderers are not allowed to stone them to death (which likely they often feel like doing). Having a fair justice system means that people who are not involved from an emotional point of view, get to decide what is the best way to give out punishment, and also how to stop prisoners re-offending when they are released from prison.
In fact, a vast majority of prisoners do re-offend, often because they have nowhere to go and nothing to do, and the whole situation comes around again.
- Hope into Action was inspired by meeting a newly-released prisoner, drinking on a bench with nowhere to go. Working with over 50 churches, they invest in property which is then rented out for free or low cost, to help addicts, former prostitutes, people fleeing abuse and survivors of trafficking get back on track.
- Various charities try to prevent re-offending, by donating books or offering yoga classes. Using 20 hours a day stuck in a cell can be used to have a personal spiritual and emotional revolution, so that the person can focus doing good on release, rather than going back to their old ways. Surely this is better for all of society?
- Jens Söring is a German national who recently returned home, after spending 30 years in prison for a double murder. Different people say he’s innocent or not. But what he did during time inside was write Catholic Press Association award-winning books on prison reform: The Church of the Second Chance and One Day in the Life of 179212.
- Based on Native American circle traditions, restorative justice is not ‘soft-on-crime’, but victims meet with criminals (not always the same crimes) to talk through the effects. Many people then don’t commit further crimes (and the re-offending rate for juveniles is almost zero). The Little Book of Restorative Justice is by Howard Zehr, the ‘father of Restorative Justice’.
Retributive theory believes that pain will vindicate. But it’s often counterproductive for both victim and offender. Restorative justice argues that what truly vindicates is acknowledgement of the victim’s harms and needs, with an active effort to encourage offenders to make right the wrongs, and address the cause of their behaviour. And has the potential to affirm both victim and offender, to help them transform their lives. Howard Zehr
Animal Abuse Leads to Human Crime
It’s a well-known fact that nearly all serial killers first abuse animals, before killing humans. When MSPCA (like a US branch of the RSPCA) was asked decades ago why he focused on animal welfare before humans, he replied simply ‘I am working at the roots’. Even if you don’t care about animals, then to help humans, you should be just as concerned about how children and adults treat other species, if you want a safe and just world. Mahatma Gandhi famously said ‘The greatness of nation can be judged, by the way its animals are treated’.
Animals & Society Institute runs AniCare, which trains probation officers to stop animal abuse. It has manuals for both adults and children (include those who have witnessed animal abuse). Studies show that nearly all serial killers have a history of animal abuse
Should We Reinstate the Death Penalty?
The mass media would have you think that most people in England support the death penalty. In fact, the figure is far lower than in America (around 40% though still worryingly high, considering that many people have been wrongly convicted and therefore would have been executed). Albert Pierrepoint (England’s last main executioner) once hanged the wrong man (then hanged the real criminal who had done the crime that the innocent man had been hanged for). He then retired, opened up a bed-and-breakfast, and near the end of his life, noted that he thought killing all the people he had done, had not made a scrap of difference to prevent crime.
In the US, far more people support the death penalty, often on the religious right (not sure what Jesus Christ would have thought about that). However, the stats again are clear it does nothing. The states that don’t support capital punishment (like the liberal north east) have lower levels of crime. Yet the right-wing states that do (like Texas and others in the Deep South) have much higher rates of murder, often due to people being high on drugs when they commit the crimes). Other arguments are that it does not bring closure to the family in any way, and the often-not-noted one that many people on juries feel uncomfortable sending people to their deaths, so may vote a guilty person innocent, just so they don’t have someone’s death on their conscience. The lie that killing people costs less is negated, as most people on Death Row in the states are incarcerated for decades, before they are put to death.
One executioner in the US wrote a book called Death at Midnight. It’s a real eye-opening read, and likely to convert even the most staunch death penalty supporter. In a nutshell, he spent years executing people, often getting to know the people he killed. He is not soft on crime. But his main point was that if you agree with the Death Penalty, so be it. But you are not the one injecting someone or pulling the noose. So what right have you got to put someone like him through all his lifelong nightmares, just because you believe something should be done – that you would never do yourself?