A good neighbourhood creates safety
Crime prevention at its best is created by increasing a sense of community and neighbourhood help, in which trust and interaction are essential. The working group on neighborhood help released their guidelines on May 23rd, which is the European Neighbours` Day. The group stated that safety is primarily created through trust and interaction instead of barbwires and surveillance cameras.
The working group, founded by the Council for Crime Prevention, has collected guidelines and central observations on neighbourhood help, local democracy, and involvement. In addition, examples are given on the ways residents themselves can affect the safety and comfort of their own living environment.
- The sense of safety increases when one knows their neighbours and has no need to fear them. Members of the community have real opportunities of influencing their closest environment by working together for common goals and helping each other. It is quite simple really, states the working group.
Responsibility for the unsafe or unkempt living environment is often left to the officials. The possibilities for individuals or community to act on the issue either proactively or restoratively are often overlooked. The report emphasizes the significance of a functional community in crime prevention.
For the residents to be able to work together collectively, they need premises and easily attainable meeting places. The operation should also be well planned and networking should be reinforced. Residential areas have multiple agents: residents, municipality, officials, congregation, housing cooperatives, organizations, and local companies. Often they operate oblivious of each other.
According to the working group, neighbourhood help can occur through everyday consideration towards each other or through more organized volunteer work. To make sure that the volunteer work is stabile and trustworthy, it should be well planned. The easier the participation has been made on different levels, the greater the chance for everyone to find their own way of getting involved in neighbourhood help. The information gathered about the participation possibilities in the local sphere should also be easily accessible.
Neighbourhood help in the Nordic countries is currently being looked into and the results of the project will be reported in the autumn of 2014.