German Congress on Crime Prevention 2009

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14th German Congress on Crime Prevention: living solidarity – assuring diversity

Modern times are also insecure times. Fundamental societal changes and current developments bear chances but also risks, produce winners and losers. Theses developments are even accentuated and accelerated through the current crisis.

The 14th German Congress on Crime Prevention – associated member of the European Forum for Urban Safety – took up this problem June 8th and 9th 2009 in Hanover. Themed „living solidarity – assuring diversity” it brought together 3500 experts in the capital of lower saxony.

As Dr Wiebke Steffen wrote in her report fort he 14th German Congress on Crime Prevention with respect to chances and situations of life: Risks increase, the society drifts further and further apart. Disintegration and lack of societal participation might lead to an increase of crime, particularly of violence and fear of it.

In these insecure times, the contribution of crime prevention to social inclusion, participation and solidarity should not be underestimated. “Crime prevention is not only a set of strategies, programmes and measures to hold back and diminish crime. Crime prevention also means reducing exclusion and fostering social inclusion!” says Erich Marks, chief of executive of the German Congress on Crime Prevention. 

Not only the report shows that this seems to be right: given the context, the situation was said to be astonishingly good. Also the German Minister of the Interior could present good news in Hanover. Not only crime in general but also the difficult area of violence by young offenders was declining during the last year.

In the end the congress called in its Hanover declaration decision makers in politics and society to recognise the contribution of crime prevention to social cohesion, to give young people at the margin a place in society, to diminish inequalities of income and education, to fight against phenomena of social disintegration with the goal of establishing equal access to economic, political, social and cultural participation for all citizens.

EFUS contributed to the conference with a talk on local safety audits and presented its guidebook on the subject, translated into German by the LPR, and with a presentation of the project Democracy Cities & Drugs (DC&DII). EFUS was also represented with an information stand.

EFUS with its German Executive Committee members Stuttgart and LPR Niedersachsen invited its German adherents and partners, especially its new members, Düsseldorf, Mannheim and München, as well as cities interest in the EFUS network to attend an informal cocktail to discuss the network’s developments in Germany. The topic: creating a German Forum for Urban Safety (DEFUS) in the near future.