Press Releases

15. 10. 2007 18:42

Government Approved Crime-Prevention Strategy for Years 2008 to 2011

The Government of the Czech Republic today discussed and approved, among other documents, its Strategy for Crime Prevention for the Years 2008 to 2011 and Evaluation of the System of Care for Endangered Children, submitted by Interior Minister Ivan Langer.

The Strategy lays down key areas of the Czech Republic’s crime-prevention policy. Based on the current crime situation in the country, it proceeds from the latest findings of criminological research as well as domestic foreign experience. The prime aim of the Strategy is to keep raising citizens´ feelings of security, while reducing the rate and serious nature of criminal offences. It defines the underlying priorities, principles and areas of crime prevention, outlining a recommended framework for drafting and implementing crime-prevention strategies for all the components of the public administration sector at the level of government ministries, regions and municipalities.

The priorities include efforts to reduce property and violent offences, eliminate socio-pathological phenomena posing criminal risks, restrain opportunities for committing criminal offences, raising the risks for offenders when caught, and brief citizens on the legal ways of protecting themselves against criminal activities.

The key target groups to be granted enhanced attention are the children and youth who are threatened by socio-patholoical phenomena or who have already had some criminal experience, first offenders, reoffenders and habitual criminals, and socially excluded communities.

Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer told a press conference: “The Government has agreed, in no uncertain terms, that its crime-prevention strategy figures prominently among its priorities. It has decided to earmark for that system in the next four years funds worth 400 million CZK, i.e. roughly 100 million CZK each year. We have also decided to make some additional conceptual changes. We want to strengthen the role of the regions and regional self-governments in defining their own crime-prevention systems to promote regional projects aimed at preventing criminal offences. Proceeding from relatively extensive studies, figures, data, and analyses at our disposal, we have come to the conclusion that we want to focus, more intensely than in the past, on towns with a population of 25,000 and higher, thus facilitating a longer-term and more conceptual implementation of their crime-prevention projects. In the past, such projects covered just one-year periods, now these municipalities will be able to submit four-year projects to be in a position to carry out more coherent crime-prevention programmes. Our key purpose is to help those municipalities get rid of their uncertainties, recurring every year, whether they will have sufficient funds for these areas. Furthermore, we want to promote research activities in this field, while ensuring cost-effective use of all the funds on the basis of detailed knowledge of the individual localities concerned“.

While preparing the document entitled Evaluation of the System of Care for Endangered Children, the staff of the Ministry of Interior, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Physical Training, carried out a large-scale survey studying the life stories of children who left institutional care in the years 1995 - 2004; this involved as many as 17,454 children and youth. In its analyses, this study devoted attention to the development of socio-pathological phenomena and to the criminal history of such children, to the work of the authorities providing socio-legal protection of children, to the issues of early intervention and subsequent care (social integration), to adjudicated institutional care and protection, to the question of children’s escapes from institutional care and cooperation among institutions looking after endangered and delinquent children and youth. Focus was also laid on the criminal history of children and adolescents after leaving institutional care. The research project has offered a number of alarming findings, primarily the fact that more than 50 percent of former wards in institutional care committed offences after leaving such institutions.

After the Government meeting Interior Minister Ivan Langer was quoted as saying: “On the basis of this research we have come to very sad and alarming conclusions. More than half of the children or rather persons who have passed institutional care eventually ends up in the hands of law-enforcement authorities for committing criminal offences. In other words, even though we have institutions and a number of laws, even though we have a functioning mediation and probation service, even though there is a great many non-profit and charity organizations active in this field, the system does not work as we would like. That is why the Government has decided to pay very close attention to the care for endangered children. While looking for the real causes of this situation, we have agreed that this system is like a mosaic composed of different pieces. There are many of them and they are not adequately coordinated and dovetailed to make a truly satisfactory overall picture. And one of the key goals ensuing from the Government negotiations, in addition to the need for a system of early intervention and the need to build a youth-protection team, it is vital to create a better coordinating mechanism to make sure that the individual departments and institutions are better managed. Once this goal has been reached, we will see better results in the future than those I have just discussed,“ the Czech Interior Minister concluded.

Press Department of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic

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