26 February 2004
VIENNA, 26 February 2004 (UN Information Service) -- Hungarys new National Strategy for Social Crime Prevention was the focus of a half-day workshop organized here yesterday by the Hungarian Ministry of Justice and the Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Hungary, as other countries with a similar transition background has seen a rise in the number of crimes committed, especially as regards violent crimes and crimes against property. Despite continuous efforts by national law enforcement agencies and criminal justice institutions, the public safety perception has been showing a deteriorating trend. The need for a crime prevention strategy was acknowledged last October when Parliament adopted a resolution to approve such a strategy document. The Vienna workshop reviewed the text of the new strategy as well as the intended institutional foundations for its implementation. The strategy was drafted on the basis of the United Nations Guidelines on Prevention of Crime.
The UN Guidelines, adopted in 2002 stand in a fifty year old tradition of efforts of the United Nations to rationalize and humanize criminal justice policies. The overarching theme of the document is that crime prevention offers opportunities for a humane and more cost-effective approach to the problems of crime. The crime prevention and criminal justice projects and police assistance work provided by UNODC in line with those guidelines represent an important framework for the promotion of human security.
In accordance with this overall policy approach, the Hungarian national strategy aims at a quantitative reduction of crime and a qualitative improvement of citizens perception of security. It identifies five priority areas: prevention and reduction of juvenile delinquency; improvement of urban security; prevention of violence within the family; prevention of becoming victimized and creating proper means to help victims of criminal acts; and prevention of re-offending.
The Hungarian strategy document applies international best practices in crime prevention, as codified in the UN Guidelines, in the field of early prevention, as well as in situational crime prevention, victim support and social reintegration of offenders.
According to UNODC, the implementation of the strategy offers a welcome opportunity to test those best practices in a country belonging to a region where crime prevention is a relatively new concept. For Hungary the benefit of building on the best practices lies in avoiding mistakes made elsewhere over the past decades. The new strategy was also elaborated with the intention of making Hungary more prepared for full European Union membership as of May this year.
The workshop was well attended by representatives of the Vienna based permanent missions, who showed great interest in this initiative and engaged in a lively discussion on the Hungarian Strategy as well as on the operational mission of UNODC to promote human security through crime prevention and drugs control.
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