The Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council John McArdle attended the launch of an innovative approach to tackling crime and anti-social behavior in Newry city. The Safer Stronger Communities is funded by the Department of Social Development and led by community safety trailblazers Community Restorative Justice Ireland. The project is based in Ballybot House in the city and over the next two years will work with communities to help address crime and anti-social behavior in deprived areas. The Mayor said that he was delighted to attend the event. “The aim of the new project ‘Safer Stronger Communities’ is to help build communities within the Neighborhood Renewal Areas of Newry which will be stronger, safer responsive and more inclusive,” said the first citizen. “I wish CRJI Newry/ Armagh every success in delivering this project and look forward to a safer strong community.” Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy also attended the event. He said that he was at the Oireachtas last weekend when CRJI made a presentation to MP’s TDs and Seanadoiri. “I am confident that CRJI’s restorative approach to crime and anti-social behavior is working in communities across the island,” said Conor Murphy. “I am delighted to see that not only is it being embraced by communities but also at a government level.” Formally launching the event the DSD’s Gerome Burns said he was confident the project would make a difference. “I am confident that the Newry/ Armagh CRJI team will deliver and the residents of the Neighborhood Renewal Areas will reap the benefits.” CRJI project coordinator Elizabeth Kimmins said she was delighted at the support of the Mayor and the DSD for the initiative. “The launch of the project is recognition from statutory bodies that efforts to tackle the issues of crime and ASB must include the communities they work in and serve. “Our task is not only to make those statutory bodies accountable and accessible to the community but also at making those bodies more responsive and more effective.” Elizabeth Kimmins said that the project will soon launch a survey which will look at the issues most affecting residents in some of the city’s most deprived communities. “Our aim is to consult as widely as we can with the people most affected by crime and ant-social behavior,” said Ms Kimmins. “In this way we believe that people can help to shape the bodies which serve them and ensure they enjoy a better service. “The advantage of an initiative like Safer Stronger Communities is that it is led by and driven by the community itself.
31st October 2012