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Consultant talks crime prevention in Dominican Republic

Prevention is a key strategy in the fight against crime. But it’s a foreign concept in the Dominican Republic, a Red Deer consultant discovered during a recent trip to the Caribbean country.

Steve Woolrich, who operates SeCure Consulting Solutions Inc., was in the Dominican Republic last month as part of a “safe communities” initiative. His visit was arranged by Carolyn Jones, a Delburne resident whose company Happy Earth Inc. has performed community betterment work in the country for several years.

Woolrich and Jones worked with steering committees in two communities to lay the foundation for a crime prevention strategy. Members included government officials, educators, health professionals and others.

Woolrich said he shared information about crime prevention initiatives in Canada, including CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) and Alberta’s gang reduction strategy. They also discussed how improved health care and social development can deter crime.

“There isn’t currently a real solid understanding of what prevention is, which to me was interesting,” he said.

“It’s all reaction, so it’s a real twist in their way of thinking.”

Woolrich was pleased with the progress achieved, and expects to return in the spring to continue his work.

He also helped establish and is funding a safe house for families at risk, and found a piano that he hopes to set up on the street for local artists to play. Such positive activities can help push out the criminal element, he explained.

There is even a possibility that Woolrich will become a crime prevention adviser to the Dominican Republic government. He hope to build on the successes of the two existing project and expand to other urban and rural areas.

Woolrich even sees the potential for promoting crime prevention strategies beyond the Dominican Republic.

 
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