Crime Prevention Projects

UNODC's  crime prevention technical assistance is supported by crime prevention tools and publications, delivered in cooperation with other UN agencies and key national, regional and international stakeholders.

UNODC gratefully acknowledges the funding provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) through its Anti-Crime Capacity Building Programme in support of the UNODC work in crime prevention and criminal justice, in particular  in Latin America and the Caribbean.

UNODC's field-based crime prevention portfolio is relatively new as compared to the Office's portfolio in other mandated areas. In the last years, however, significant progress has been made and various projects and initiatives are now being implemented.

A number of new multi-UN agency programmes with UNODC's participation have been approved by the UNDP-Spain Millennium Development Goals - MDG Achievement Fund in the area of Conflict prevention and peace building; e.g.,in Bolivia, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico and Panama.

Crime prevention and criminal justice reform are now integral components of the existing regional and country programmes, and unfolding ones. In Central America, the approved national country programmes for El Salvador and Guatemala have important components of crime prevention. In EL Salvador , the ultimate goal of the crime prevention component is to operationalize prevention policies through activities which build the resilience of at-risk youth through enhanced life opportunities drawing on culture and technology. UNODC has also taken the first steps to support the Government of El Salvador with the establishment of a Regional Centre of Excellence on Urban Crime Prevention. In Guatemala, the prevention component of the country programme has the ultimate goal of  strengthening crime prevention through an integrated approach leading to strengthened primary, secondary and tertiary policies for the prevention of youth crime and violence.

In the Caribbean, building on previous support the Office provided to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in the elaboration of the Draft Action Plan for Social Development and Crime Prevention, key stakeholders are providing valuable inputs into, and feedback on priority areas for the action plan before its implementation. The ultimate goal of this five-year Action Plan is to prevent and reduce levels of violence and crime in CARICOM Member States, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. It is predicated on five strategic pillars: reduce violence, social inclusion, promote integration, empower victims and protect the environment and economic resources. In Jamaica, in late 2010,  UNODC participated at a scoping mission in the context of the UN Armed Violence Prevention Programme (AVPP), which brought together UNODC and five other UN agencies (UNDP, WHO, UNICEF, UNODA and UN-HABITAT). As a result of the mission, a multi-agency technical cooperation programme in  support of national efforts to prevent and control armed violence was developed and submitted for funding consideration by the international community. The program will focus on five main areas: (a) crime and violence data to inform policy and programming; (b) institutional capacities at the national and local levels to address crime and violence and community renewal; (c) reducing trafficking, illegal possession and use of small arms; (d) preventing children and youth from becoming victims and perpetrators of crime and violence; and (e) fostering national consensus on priorities for violence prevention and community renewal.

What follows is a brief outline of selected projects and initiatives.

Plurinational State of Bolivia: Community-centred crime and drug abuse prevention. Since 2007 UNODC supports efforts to address drug abuse and crime problems in El Alto with a comprehensive community-centred strategy. Parents benefit from training in healthy life styles and drug abuse prevention while school teachers receive training on prevention and health promotion which in turn benefit thousands of students. At the community level, local institutions and community-based organizations receive training and guidance through workshops in order to formulate their own strategies to prevent crime and violence. The programme also supports training of law enforcement officers in human rights and actions to improve the living conditions in the neighborhoods. Another very important component of the programme is the delivery of vocational training at the community level in partnership with the business sector and government institutions, which has  benefiting over 1,400 youth to date. In 2010, UNODC initiated a new project to support the development of skills and methods of intervention for drug abuse and crime prevention in the Department of Santa Cruz in partnership with municipal governments, educational institutions and civil society organizations. The project will support the design and implementation of  preventive programs, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the strengthening of protective factors. It will build on the experience of UNODC's support in this area in the municipality of El Alto.

Brazil : Strengthening the efforts of Federal District in community-based prevention of crime, violence and drug use. In partnership with the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD) UNODC recently completed a local safety audit of the Federal District which identified and mapped the rates of violence and crime, social dynamics of these events, and assessing the organizations and services related to crime prevention in the Federal District and surrounding areas. It is expected that the results of the local safety audit will be used by government agencies and civil society organizations to inform the design of public safety strategies and plans. Security with Citizenship: preventing violence and strengthening citizenship with a focus on children, adolescents and youths in vulnerable conditions in Brazilian communities. UNODC is a partner in this multi-UN agency programme (other participating agencies are UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, UN-HABITAT and ILO). The programme ultimate goal is to support public safety policies, in particular the Local Actions under the National Programme for Public Security with Citizenship (PRONASCI). UNODC's contribution to the programme will focus on the risk factors that increase youth and children's vulnerability to violence and victimization. Young people between the ages of 14 and 24 will be empowered with skills to reduce individual and community vulnerabilities. They will be provided with tools and skills for the development of a "life project" that will lead to their future insertion in the labour market. In 2010, two new projects were approved: 1. to support the National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP) in implementing decentralized and integrated public safety policies and preventive actions and 2. a project titled Expressive Youth: citizenship, access to justice and culture of peace. The latter is the first crime prevention project implemented by UNODC with support from the business sector. Building on the Youth of Expression methodology- which aims at promoting healthy behavior and attitudes in young people, the project will incorporate additional  activities to prevent violence and promote access to justice to young people of 18-29 years of age. The project will also promote the creation of new, and strengthening of existing networks of integral care to young people in the Federal District.

Colombia : Local safety audit, Medellin. In partnership with the Office of the Governor of Antioquia UNODC is currently implementing the first UNODC-supported multi-sectoral local safety audit in Medellin. The competent authorities of the Department of Antioquia are fully engaged in the process and plans are underway to carry out local safety audities in other municipalities of Antioquia. It is expected that the results of the audits will serve as a basis to inform crime prevention policies, strategies and programmes.

Honduras: Vocational training, social and labour (re)integration. Since 2004, UNODC in partnership with the Office of the Honduran National Institute of Professional Training (INFOP) and the Honduran Institute of Prevention of Drugs and Alcohol Addiction (IHADFA) supports social and labor strategies to reintegrate in the labor market young, unemployed Hondurans between the ages of 16-23 without professional training and who had dropped out of school. In the first phase, over 100 young people in Tegucigalpa benefited from professional skills training and received support for job placement.  In the project's second phase, activities are being extended to the municipality of San Pedro Sula. The inclusion of special employment programmes in local policies aims at preventing at-risk youth from engaging in crime and thus benefiting the community at large. A recently approved MDG Programme entitled  "Human development for youth: overcoming the challenges of migration through employment" is a joint initiative between UNODC, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, FAO, ILO and IOM. The programme will contribute to the generation of quality employment opportunities and entrepreneuralism at the local level with the objective of discouraging migration of vulnerable youngsters between 15 and 29 years. The Programme is being implemented at the level of municipalities in the departments of La Paz, Comayagua and Intibucá. UNODC's contribution includes support for the establishment of multi-service offices in participating municipalities and support to local governments to develop strategic plans and make budgetary allocations to a) foster youth employment, b) foster  gender and ethnic equality and c) prevent migration and strengthen youth national identity.

Mauritania: Strengthening conflict prevention capacities and the rule of law in Mauritania. This multi-UN agency programme (UNODC, UNDP, UNFPA, and UNICEF) aims at preventing conflict and inter-community tensions through the following multi-sectoral and integrated approaches: strengthening social cohesion through the promotion of national unity and citizenship; developing policies which allow for an equal distribution of resources; establishing mechanisms for conflict resolution and dialogue; and strengthening the rule of law by building the capacities of actors in the areas of conflict prevention and management. UNODC's contribution to this programme supports the establishment of conflict resolution structures, activities to foster dialogue and social mediation, and those which combine traditional practices with the use of formal judicial mechanisms and decision-making bodies.

Mexico: Conflict prevention, development of agreement, and peace building for internally displaced persons in Chiapas state. UNODC is partner in an inter-agency MDG Achievement Fund programme in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, which commenced in 2010. Other UN agencies implementing components of the programme are: UNICEF, UNESCO and UNDP. The programme ultimate goal is to strengthen conflict prevention, peace building capacities and access to justice of internally displaced persons in twenty-four communities of the state of Chiapas. In 2010, the goals and scope of the diagnostic study on access to justice have been defined, and intervention strategies of the State Attorney's Office and the State Judiciary agreed upon. The project has also provided training on cultural diversity to civil servants and prepared proposals on the subject of culture of peace for inclusion in school curricula.

Panama: Improving citizen's security - social construction of peace. A new notion of security based on a culture of peace, citizen's participation and respect for human rights is supported by the Government of Panama. This multi-sector and integrated MDG Programme brings together the expertise of various UN agencies (UNODC, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA) and aims at supporting the government in its efforts to modernize the state and strengthen the legal system to prevent crime and violence. Children, youth and the community will benefit from social prevention policies and actions to recover the use of public space, promote gender equality and reduce  the use of drugs. The programme will also support training and mechanisms to improved access to justice in pilot municipalities in the context of local citizen's security plans. Other components of the Programme will contribute to increased access to justice and use of alternatives to imprisonment.

Peru: Recidivism prevention. The results of a study on recidivism amongst young adult offenders carried out with UNODC support became available in early 2011. The study was based on official statistics from 2003 to 2008 and showed risk factors associated with recidivism by young adults who have been detained. It is expected that the assessment and recommendations of the study will form a basis for programmes of technical assistance aimed at recidivism prevention.

Victimization surveys. It is widely recognized that  not all crimes come to the attention of the police and that crime data recorded by the police alone are often unable to provide a complete picture of the nature and extent of crime. As a result, the conduct of population-based victimization surveys is a key component to generating knowledge for crime prevention. Early in 2011, UNODC published the results of a series of victimization surveys conducted in a number of countries in Africa, including Cape Verde , Egypt, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, and Kenya. The results highlighted the impact of crime on everyday life in addition to perceptions of law enforcement and criminal justice responses to crime.