The Home Office delineates community safety as, “An aspect of quality of life in which people, individually and collectively, are protected as far as possible from hazards or threats that result from the criminal or anti-social behaviour of others and are equipped or helped to cope with those they do experience” (Home Office: 1998) The fear of crime can impact us in a major way on how we feel about our community. “Localised action against crime” also know as community safety, crime prevention or crime reduction; is often practiced by police officers and authority workers e.g. Probation workers, housing officers etc. Community safety focuses on introducing physical and social changes to local communities to enforce balance and prevent crime and disorder from taking place. There are three ways of classifying crime prevention, primary secondary and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention targets the general population to prevent crime from happening before it has happens. Secondary prevention targets the population that is most at risk, where Tertiary prevention focuses on the individual; Often a known offender (Newburn, 2007:566)
The aim of community safety is to allow local residents to be able to live their lives freely, yet still feel comfortable and protected in their area by local authorities. All citizens should be able to live without interruption or fear that may come from crime and disorder. In some ways community safety can be hard to define, as various communities have different ways of carrying out the service. In some communities citizens have a say in what issues they feel need to be addressed and prioritized for action in their community; and in others they don’t. So where some issues may be of relevance in one community, it won’t be of relevance in another. Most importantly once an issue has been tackled it is fundamental that it does not re-occur.
Offending behavior can negatively affect an individual and/or a whole community. By reducing offending behavior community service should generally improve the quality of live of an individual or community, both socially and economically. Without first addressing fear and typical preconceptions of crime, any action to prevent anti-social behavior will be of no relevance, as communities may be unaware of the changes occurring and therefore reluctant to believe that they are being protected. It is after the Morgan Report in 1991 when the term ‘Community safety’ first came into notion. As stated by ‘CSinfo magazine’ “The term community safety was not well defined then and in some eyes the same is true today” (CSinfo: n.d.).
Anti social behavior and the nature of crime can cause the focus of community service to shift at times. This is mainly because of the difference in cultures, various religions and ethnic groups that may be in one community. Therefore we can question if community service is effective in a diverse society. In all of this we must take diversity and ethics into consideration. In society people have different values and approaches to life. Diversity is the unique difference that we all have. In all walks of life there will always be people from various backgrounds that we must make contact with. Diversity can be a cause of conflict and tensions within a society. Community safety aims to prevent divisions within a community and create unity to establish a safer and more comfortable lifestyle for civilians.
Community safety or community policing can be very effective in society as it establishes a good and trusting relationship between the police and citizens. The police become “part of the neighbourhood” (Anon: 2010), In addition to creating relationships it also enables the police to become aware of what the community needs. This partnership allows police...