Perceptions of community safety in West Auckland and white fragility.
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Citation:Bridgman, G. (2017, February). Perceptions of Community Safety in West Auckland and White Fragility. Paper presented at Presentation to the Conference of the Aoteroa Community Development Association and the International Community Development Association,, Unitec Institute of Technology, Waitakere Campus, Auckland, New Zealand February 15th to 17th, 2017.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/3799
Unitec and Community Waitakere have recently completed a Lottery’s Foundation funded project looking at the contemporary issues affecting the perceptions of safety in West Auckland communities. A review of eight recent surveys or research reports between 2012 and 2016 into community safety in West Auckland show that the negative perceptions we have about the safety of our community and the people who are part of it, have more impact than the actual amount of crime that is reported in our community. Responses to questionnaires to 159 people covering the age-span, female and male gender, Pākehā/European, Māori, Pacific Island and Asian/other cultures showed that despite a clear fall in reported crime rates in West Auckland people generally believed that crime had increased and was worse than in the rest of Auckland. On a number of different measures, the Pākehā/European participants were significantly more concerned about personal safety and crime that the other communities who did the questionnaire. The Pākehā/European participants were significantly more likely than the other groups to want more police patrols and a get tough on crime approach and were significantly less interested in a collaborative neighbour to neighbour community development approach. The data suggests that perceptions of safety in the community are influenced by culture and that one or more cultures are likely to be seen as the problem by the dominant culture. This raises the issue of the role white privilege (McIntosh, 1988) and, particularly, white fragility (DiAngelo, 2010) in addressing community safety. White fragility explores the challenges of over-reactive white sensitivity to suggestions that their position of privilege might impact on the well-being of people of other cultures