The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released a handbook on crime prevention policies optimised for the Caribbean and southern Africa where murder, rape and robbery are “exponentially” more common than elsewhere on the globe.
The UN News Centre says the Handbook on Planning and Action for Crime Prevention in Southern Africa and the Caribbean Regions is meant to help policymakers and practitioners reduce the burden of crime on the poor and touches on topics ranging from parenting to policing to technological surveillance.
It asks why Jamaica, for example, has the world`s highest homicide rate, with 54 victims per 100 000 people per year, and why up to 63% of people in some southern African countries have been a victim of crime in the previous calendar year.
It draws on lessons from 40 crime prevention programmes to increase knowledge about levels of crime, successful practices in reducing crime rates in developing countries, and multi-actor crime prevention initiatives.
Though underdevelopment is obviously a factor, it finds no easy correlations between poverty, development levels or inequality and crime among developing countries themselves.
In addition, it says that information on crime rates and the success of anti-crime initiatives is lacking or involves variables that make comparisons difficult in the countries in question, and the Handbook urges further research and in a variety of areas.
According to UNODC, the policy recommendations of the Handbook are based on UN principles that maintain that crime prevention should enhance the rule of law and should serve socio-economic development and inclusion.
Those same principles promote evidence, and not ideology, in the development of policy and partnerships among Governments, civic and business communities
Finally, crime prevention should be community-centred and should be developed and promoted on the basis of sustainability and accountability, UNODC said.