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Beyond “what works” in reducing crime: the development of a municipal community safety strategy in British Columbia

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(Dissertation) Ph.D.
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Crime is a complex phenomenon and the prevention of it is equally complex. A nation’s ability to reduce crime is fundamental in the quality of life citizen’s experience and public safety is recognized as part of the sustainable development of communities. Crime prevention is understood as the most efficient way to bring about long lasting and sustainable decreases in crime. Canadian municipalities have continued to revisit issues of public safety and have responded by developing public safety plans. This dissertation is a case study of one municipal safety plan in British Columbia. Specifically it examines the formation, development and publication of the City of Surrey’s Crime Reduction Strategy in 2007. Through examination of this case study, it becomes clear at least one municipality is developing plans that move beyond traditional reactionary approaches to crime. Municipalities are well positioned to benefit from advances in crime prevention thought and research. However, a number of substantial challenges remain. In the absence of internationally implemented standards and norms, there are natural ongoing threats to crime prevention (such as tertiary drift and social development creep). Without clear statutory guidance, more statistically valid and reliable information about crime at the neighbourhood level, a firm commitment to documentation and dissemination of information, and a measurable understanding of the relationship between social development and crime prevention, progress in crime prevention at the municipal level should not be assumed.
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