Updated: May 20
Community Safety is an often used expression, sometimes even throw away in that is something we aspire too but haven't really considered what it is or means.
There is no doubt that in communities the length and breadth of this Island there is an ongoing debate about the issues around community safety and probably if truth be told, the many problems around the lack of safety faced by many communities. These are felt most acutely in working class areas and estates of our inner cities or the sprawling conurbations that have developed around them.
The causes of the most impactful behaviours are many fold. From a Restorative perspective we look at these through a social and economic lens that in turn will inform our responses. This perspective opens up many impactful negative issues, from poverty, educational underachievement, social and economic deprivation in housing, access to society and a roadmap for young people to develop within a supportive community the means to make a living. We see families with problems, people struggling to do their best, we see potential.
For those of us who are currently working in the area of community safety in North Lurgan and Drumgask we not only encounter the usual barriers that exist in our society, we face the residue of a conflict that is long over but still resonates within these communities. They impact on the development of relationships with and between communities, asking questions such as whose side are you on? This is a legitimate question but in answering there is only one response from us. We are with our communities, the people who are or have been harmed. We wish to be part of the response to that harm and we want to develop and build stronger, more resilient communities that can contribute so much more to the health & Wellbeing of their areas. This is community safety in action.
We also see the residue of our recent troubled past, we feel it as all and any in our community. We also understand where we are at now. For those who would disagree with our analysis of community safety then engage with us. For those who think they have better solutions to crime and anti social behaviour, come and show us the answers, we want to hear. We want to engage with everyone. We want you to hear our view on crime, we want you to understand our opposition to punishment and prison responses. We want to begin the healing from within our communities.
There are no easy answers to dealing with crime and criminality, these very antithesis of community but we at least need to explore and develop what we feel are appropriate responses, resolution rather than despair. We are here, folks. Become part of what we are trying to achieve, Jion us in the rebuild.......