OPINION: Is creating jobs the answer to cutting crime?
IN IPSWICH, as in many other cities, crime and unemployment appear to go hand in hand.
In Ipswich Magistrates Court each week, hundreds of people take the stand to plead to a variety of offences. Some are as petty as stealing $1.25 worth of lollies from the local supermarket while others are more serious, like beating up a stranger in the street.
Everybody gets a chance to make a defence, and during that time the judge or magistrate will almost always ask: "Are you employed?".
For many offenders the answer is "no".
Most unemployed people obey our laws, but some seem to commit crimes because they either need money, are envious of people with jobs, or because they are simply bored.
In Saturday's QT a report on youth unemployment revealed general unemployment in Ipswich had declined from 9% to 7.4% in the past year.
It would be very interesting to know if crime in Ipswich had dropped in similar proportion.
When people commit crimes they should, of course, be punished.
But punishing criminals is not the best way to stop crime.
The best way is to prevent it.
And finding ways to get more of our residents into the workforce may be the key to really reducing crime in our city.