“Veled - Érted” - "With You - For You" crime prevention model project

The "plaza-phenomenon" is widely known and rather significant in Hungary. Unlike the practice in most other countries, in Hungary plazas (shopping malls/centers) are built up in the city centers, therefore these provide an attractive place within easy reach for youth to hang around, drift and spend their time there even when hanging out from school. These youngsters often gather into groups and start to commit offences and cause damages. According to the data recorded by the Police in 2007, the number of young and child offenders in Győr town has risen. It is getting more and more popular that children and young people hang around in plazas or in their surrounding instead of going home or being at shool.

Facing the phenomenon and recognising the significance of the problem, the Hungarian Maltese Charity Service Association delivered a project to cope with this problem. The project applied a complex, "two-track-approach" as it focused on providing freetime activities for the youth on one hand and on improving and extending the cooperation of professionals working with the youth in adressing this specific issue on the other hand. The efficacy of this complex approach was enhanced by applying the methods of peer-helping and voluntary work.

The basic philosophy of the project was that reaching young people through useful freetime activities and settling programmes, services and communities to the place where the drifting youngsters can be found - may it be a plaza, a park or any other kind of public space - might provide an adequate means to reduce juvenile delinquency and victimisation in an indirect way.

Within the framework of the project (between November 2008 and July 2009) the targeted youth could use the freetime possibilities, such as table football, karaoke and board games provided in the Colorful Space Club. Besides these possibilities the youth could participate in activities such as the Police Club, self-awareness and creative activities and sport programmes. During these activities the youth were assisted by professionals and voluntary peer-helpers.

The motivation of the volunteers and the peer helpers was maintained, their activities were coordinated and their constant supervision was provided during the whole term of the project. The partner organisations performed an intensive and effective cooperation partners and discussed the actual questions at meetings held every second week in order to facilitate the freetime possibilities and activities for the youth and to recruit and coordinate the work of the volunteers and peer helpers.

The innovation of the project lies in the appearance of the Corporate Social Responsibility through the participation of the for-profit organisations in the project, and thus in the field of crime prevention. Taking advantage of voluntary work is also an innovative feature of the project. Trying to reach youth through settling services right the place where they can be found means also a new approach.

As the result of the project, the number of damaging has reduced, a community space for the youth and a wide-scale and long-term cooperation between the partner organisation has been set up. During the term of the project 594 youngsters have visited the Colorful Space Club and 71 volunteers and peer helpers participated actively in the work with them.

 

The project stared in 2009 and is still running.
Last review: January 2020.