Local Safety Audits
A Compendium for International Practice
Prevention is better than cure! That applies to illness, accidents and natural disasters. And it applies to crime. Taking action to prevent offending and victimisation must be a key pillar along with law enforcement, courts and corrections. Crime prevention is most successful when it is part of a strategic and inclusive process that is strongly supported by civic leaders who have a responsibility for community safety.
A clear picture of crime and victimization in a given city is the foundation for targeted action to reduce crime and increase individual and collective security. The safety audit is a tool to acquire the necessary knowledge and to build commitment from the range of partners whose collaboration is necessary to achieve results. The purpose of this Guidance is to explain the tool and to encourage and support its use. It has been written for everyone who has a significant role to play in designing and funding crime prevention programs and in directing, developing or delivering crime prevention activity.
A safety audit needs to examine not just crime and victimisation, but their linkages with socio-economic factors and the wider political and institutional contexts in which problems occur. The benefits of safety audits are increasingly being recognised and their use has become routine in some countries. They can be useful on different spatial scales, but this Guidance has been written primarily to support work at city level.
Of course, problems, contexts, resources and available expertise vary greatly between countries. But the basic need to bring people and information together to gain an understanding that can be used to inform a local crime prevention strategy has universal relevance. It is this core common need that is addressed here. Drawing on experience in different parts of the world, case studies are used to illustrate how safety audits can be applied in locations that vary in their demography, stage of development and form of governance.
The Publication: The Guidance on Local Safety Audits has been produced by the European Forum for Urban Safety and is principally funded by the Government of Canada through Public Safety Canada (National Crime Prevention Centre). The principal author is Dr Sohail Husain, Director of Analytica Consulting Services (UK).
An International Advisory Group comprising experts drawn from government, international agencies, universities and other organisations working in developed, developing and transitional countries supported its preparation. The advisory group included representatives from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Forum for Urban Safety, the International Centre for Prevention of Crime, UN-Habitat and United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime.
The Guidance is published in English, French and Spanish and is available at no cost online. A limited number of hard copies (including the CD) will also be printed. A German version has also been made available thanks to the Beccaria Project of the Prevention Council of Lower Saxony. To request a copy, please complete and return the Order Form enclosed (see below).
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This Guidance is divided into three Parts. Part A is directed primarily at those responsible for crime prevention policy and legislation at national level, as well as civic leaders with a mandate for crime prevention at city level. It highlights the connection between safety audits and wider social, economic and environmental issues, such as sustainable development, social inclusion and good urban governance. It illustrates the importance of the safety audit stage to advancing well-planned and well-executed action to reduce crime and the associated risk factors. The Guidance identifies who needs to be involved, the skills needed to complete the work, the scope of audit activity, the principles of good practice and the four main stages of audit activity.
Parts B and C are especially relevant to groups overseeing the audit process. Part B focuses on specific and important issues that pose major challenges because they are difficult to investigate. Amongst those examined here are specific populations of ‘at risk’ children and youth, women’s safety, drugs, people trafficking and crime against businesses.
Part C covers a range of technical subjects. It emphasises the importance of combining quantitative and qualitative data to gain a good understanding of problems and causal factors. Guidance is also given on the use of a range of tools and techniques for collecting information. The merits and weaknesses of different secondary sources are examined and advice is provided on the conduct of surveys.
Table of Contents
Part A : The safety audit process
1 Safety Audits In A Wider Context
2 Safety Audits: An Overview
3 Preparing To Audit
4 The Four Stages Of Audit Implementation
5 A participative approach : Engaging Communities
Part B : Specific issues for audit teams
6 Children And Youth
7 Interpersonal violence
8 Offenders and their reintegration
9 Trafficking in Persons
10 Alcohol, illicit drugs and substance abuse
11 Businesses and Crime
12 High Crime Neighbourhoods
Part C : Sources, techniques and tools
13 Safety Audit Information: Strategic Considerations
14 Using Secondary Data Sources
15 Collecting And Using Survey Data
16 Gathering Qualitative Information