Brno, Czech Republic, 9 October 2013 – When Pavel Loutocký, Chair of the City Council for Crime Prevention and Chief Executive of Brno Municipality, Czech Republic, welcomed the 65 participants in the Manifesto Day of Brno, on 8 October 2013, it was to start half a day of debate on the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis against the backdrop of the local experiences in Brno, and to present the work conducted in Brno in the light of the Manifesto.
Feedback on the experiences of 90 local and regional institutions
With the Brno prevention coordination centre, Mr Loutocký had contacted over the summer 90 local and regional bodies to share their on-going activities and to react to the new manifesto, which the city has translated into Czech. The different departments of the city and the Moravia region, the municipal and national police, as well as a large set of NGOs had replied and many of them followed his invitation to the Manifesto Day held at the city hall of Brno.
The city of Brno used the occasion to show that it has been working in the spirit of the manifesto for years and that also its new 2014 city programme for crime prevention was putting into place ideas of the manifesto. “Our work in Brno has been and will continue to be inspired by the Efus manifesto,” said Stanislav Jaburek, head of the prevention coordination centre.
The city council had decided to base its work for a safer city on a sociological analysis and a survey amongst citizen undertaken every three years and to bring together all local stakeholders in the City Council for Crime Prevention.
Over 400 projects in Brno since 1996
As a national guest speaker, Prof. Miroslav Scheinost, director of the Czech national Institute of Criminology and Social Prevention, emphasised that Brno is not designing its crime prevention strategy from the desk, but on a thorough analysis of the local problems. Since 1996 over 400 different project have been undertaken with a cumulated budget of 211 Mio CZK or 8.2 Mio Euro. Ms Jana Bohuňovská, Deputy Mayor of the City of Brno, noted that several projects won prices at national and European level.
One of the promising projects, as put forward by Mr Tomáš Koníček from the Crime Prevention Department of the Czech Ministry of Interior, was the safe location –safe housing project in the Brno-Nový Liskovec city district presented by Mr Lubosla Fiala. It combines situational crime prevention measures with a participative approach to secure residential buildings. Mr Miroslav Zima, director of the NGO DROM showed that Brno has a longstanding tradition in social work with the Roma minority. Ms Lenka Hýbnerová from the NGO “Magdalenium” showed that the city is also been very active in another important field of the manifesto, violence against women, in providing shelters and assistance to victims but also work with offenders. As the manifesto day didn’t allow going through all the projects, the city has summarised currently on-going projects according to the topics of the manifesto.
Of course the city also knows that not everything is perfect and that it is always important to improve and to adapt to new challenges. For this reason, it requested a European contribution to the discussion on the topic of nightlife, which seems to gain importance in Brno. Ms Ineke Nierstrasz from the city of Rotterdam presented the Manifesto’s recommendations in this field as well as measures taken in Rotterdam. Important insights on this issue have been gained through the European project “Safer Drinking Scenes”, which are now available in the publication of the project, Safer Drinking Scenes. Alcohol, City and Nightlife.
The need to better take into account senior citizens in prevention policies
Perhaps the single most important feedback in the discussion of the manifesto -animated by Sebastian Sperber from Efus and the former director for prevention of the Czech Ministry of the Interior and director of the NGO Transparency International in the Czech Republic, Radim Bures- was the absence of senior citizens in the manifesto. As a senior citizen involved in one of the city’s projects (“senior academy”) remarked, seniors not only constitute an important part of the population of European societies, they are also regularly victims and very often feel insecure. Together with other discussants he underlined that given the demographic change it is important, when discussing the future of prevention, to think not only about youth but also about the safety and security of the elderly.
While having a special thought for its senior citizens, the 2014 city programme for crime prevention of Brno primarily focuses on crime, drug abuse, homelessness as well as housing and urban cleanliness.