Recently the neighbourhood that I live in has come under attack. There have been a slew of violent crimes that involve rape, murder, burglary, and armed robbery within a mile of my flat. It’s safe to say that the alarm bells are ringing and people are suddenly attending the community safety meetings where they had never been before. During one such meeting as we were waiting to find out what our local police force was going to do, I began to wonder if there was a solution to the violence spreading through the city.
While alternating between perusing the news and avoiding homework in more creative ways, I came across an article in The BBC that gave a little insight on this topic, and it wasn’t what I really expected. Iceland has one of the lowest crime rates, and it appears to be due to their society’s structure. First, they don’t stress economic differences. Rich or poor, working class or upper middle class, they all work and play together on the same level. They are few hard drugs, and gun ownership is high. The most interesting fact, to me at least, is that the police pre-empt crime before it becomes a problem — this is not something I came across while I went to school in sunny Shropshire of England, nor my entire life in America where they don’t do much until after there is a major problem.
The dichotomy gave me a little insight as to the role society plays in the acceptance of crime and violence around them. Currently there is a huge debate in America on guns having an impact on crime rates. However, Iceland is an example that it has more to do with the way we treat each other than the ammunition we have to protect ourselves.