What was the problem?
In 2012 a study showed that the Canterbury area was ranked in the top eight out of 140 areas in NSW for its rate of street robbery, with the suburbs of Lakemba and Campsie representing some of the highest levels of these crimes. Street robbery is a significant concern for these communities with both suburbs having a major transport station, a large immigrant and tertiary student population, and a higher level of socio-economic disadvantage.
These high levels of street robbery in the Canterbury area have caused people in the community to fear the daily task of walking home and subsequently fear and mistrust their neighbours.
At our focus were six “problem” streets, which remained at the forefront of our investigation, analysis and assessment and subsequently a plan for an intervention.
After reviewing our findings, it became clear that to make a change we needed to take a holistic approach and create an impact through environmental improvements, behavioural changes and social connectivity.
How did we reframe it?
We sought to reframe this idea of “the dangers of walking home” by changing the negative image of fear and mistrust into a positive framework of “the road home”, which encourages community ownership and a safe and trusting presence on the streets. Through this framework we looked to move away from the frame of crime by pushing forward the idea of the ‘journey’ and the celebration of cultural diversity.
Our creative exploration of “the road home” in the cultural context of Canterbury, connects back to the historical merchant routes of the “Spice Trade”, which involved exchanging not only food and commodities but also sharing cultures, art and ideas from Asia to North Africa through to Europe for over a century. This works as a historical reminder that cultural cohesion between different nations or cultural groups is more than just possible, but has also been a reality. In this way “the road home” and the “Canterbury Spice Trade” paves the way to create common ground between the myriad of cultures, which call Canterbury home.
What was our impact?
We proposed a multi-modal program that provides a range of solutions and strategies to address street crime at multiple problem fronts; from environmental channels such as route markers and station “infographs”, awareness of the campaign messaging through social media channels, to creating advocates for the campaign across local business, schools and community channels to deliver a strong, unified campaign message.
“A campaign that celebrates cultural diversity, and a stronger sense of place and belonging in a multi-cultural community.”
Our innovative solutions to the culture of crime have challenged current views of what crime prevention entails and sits beyond the bounds of traditional approaches.
Our project is currently awaiting the secondary government funding by the NSW Police and Justice.