Skip to main content

Crime prevention and young people: Models and future direction for youth night patrols


This article presents a typology of different approaches to social crime prevention adopted by Australian Indigenous youth night patrols. Research that informed this typology occurred in a specific context, but generic observations about youth crime prevention policy are transferable to community youth crime prevention in other settings. The typology identifies several key points of difference between various service delivery models, in particular, different perceptions of relationships between crime prevention; community safety; community development; community self-determination; child protection; and youth development and welfare. Discussion teases out how political discourse frames concepts such as community governance, self-determination, paternalism, and funding accountability. The discussion illustrates how politicised decision-making has meant that policy makers responded selectively to programme evaluations, in ways that did not always maximise benefit. The typology is intended to be useful to youth crime prevention practitioners, evaluators, and policy makers.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. AGD (2008) Night Patrol Services in the Northern Territory Operational Framework 1 July 200830 June 2009, Canberra, Attorney-General’s Dept Indigenous Justice and Legal Assistance Division.

  2. Attorney-General (2008) Night Patrols Services. Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved from$file/kNight+Patrol+Services+-+FAQs+-+1+August+2008.PDF.

  3. Attorney-General’s Department (2010) AGD: RFT 0510 Indigenous Justice Program Evaluations. n.c.: Australian Government AusTender.

  4. Auditor-General (2011) Northern Territory Night Patrols. Audit Report No. 32 2010-2011, Canberra, Australian National Audit Office.

  5. Beacroft, L., Richards, K., Andrevski, H. and Rosevear, L. (2011) Community Night Patrols in the Northern Territory: Toward an Improved Performance and Reporting Framework. Technical and Background Paper 47, Canberra, Australian Institute of Criminology.

  6. Bessant, J.C. (2013) History and Australian indigenous child welfare policies. Policy Studies, 34: 310.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Blagg, H. (2003) An Overview of Night Patrol Services in Australia, Canberra, Attorney-General’s Department.

  8. Blagg, H. (2007) Models of Best Practice: Aboriginal Community Patrols in Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Crime Research Centre and Department of Crime Prevention.

  9. Blagg, H. and Valuri, G. (2003) An Overview of Night Patrol Services in Australia, Canberra, Crime Prevention Branch, Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.

  10. Blagg, H. and Valuri, G. (2004) Aboriginal community patrols in Australia: Self-policing, self-determination and security. Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy, 14: 313–328.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Brantingham, P.J. and Faust, F.L. (1976) A conceptual model of crime prevention. Crime and Delinquency, 22: 284–296.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Cashmore, J. (2011) The link between child maltreatment and adolescent offending: Systems neglect of adolescents. Family Matters, 89: 31–41.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Chen, S., Matruglio, T., Weatherburn, D. and Hua, J. (2005) The transition from juvenile to adult criminal careers. Crime and Justice Bulletin 86.

  14. Cooper, T., Sims, M., Scott, J., Barclay, E., Henry, P. and Love, T. (2014) Evaluation of Indigenous Justice programs Project D Safe Aboriginal Youth Patrol Programs in New South Wales and Northbridge Policy and Juvenile Aid Group in Western Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia, Attorney-General’s Department, Indigenous Justice Branch.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Cunneen, C. (2007) Crime justice and indigenous people. In: E. Barclay, J. Donnermemyer, J. Scott and R. HOGG (eds.) Crime in Rural Australia. Sydney: Federation Press.

  16. Cunneen, C. and White, R.D. (2011) Juvenile Justice: Youth and Crime in Australia. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Curtis, D. (1992) revised 2003. Jalulikari Council’s Community Night Patrol, Canberra, AIC.

  18. Ferrante, A., Loh, N. and Maller, M. (2004) Pathways Through Justice: A Statisitical Analysis of Offender Contact with the WA Juvenile Justice System. Perth: Crime Research Centre.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Freire, P. (1972) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Giroux, H. (2011) Critical Pedagogy, New York: Continuum.

  21. Higgens, D. (1997) Best Practice for Aboriginal Community Night Patrols and Warden Schemes: A Report to the Office of Aboriginal Development. [Accessed 7 Oct 2015].

  22. Homel, R., Feiberg, K., Lamb, C., Leech, M., Batchelor, S., Carr, A., Hay, I., Teague, R. and Elias, G. (2006) The pathways to prevention project: Doing developmental prevention in a disadvantaged community. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, 323: 1–6.

    Google Scholar 

  23. IPSDB (2008) Night patrol services in the Northern Territory [Online]. Canberra: Attorney-General’s Department. [Accessed 3 April 2011].

  24. Lithopoulos, S. (2007) International Comparison of Indigenous Policing Models. Ottowa: Public Safety Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Lothian, K. (2005) Seizing the Time: Australian Aborigines and the Influence of the Black Panther Party, 1969–1972. Journal of Black Studies, 35: 179–200.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Macarthur, C. (2007) The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Role of the Western Australian Press and State Government in Selling the Story of the Northbridge Curfew. Perth: Murdoch University

    Google Scholar 

  27. Mckee, V., Oldfield, C. and Poultney, J. (2010) Benefits of Youth Work, UNITE the Union. Community and Youth Workers Union; Lifelong Learning UK.

  28. Ministry of Justice (2015) Youth Justice Statistics, 2013/14, England.

  29. Mosey, A. (1994) Central Australian Remote Area Aboriginal Night Patrols/A Review by Anne Mosey on Behalf of D.A.S.A., Funded by Living with Alcohol, Alice Springs, NT, Living with Alcohol.

  30. NCP (1999) Pathways to Prevention: Developmental and Early Intervention Approaches to Crime in Australia. Canberra: National Crime Prevention, Attorney-General’s Department.

  31. Mosey, A. (2009) Evaluation of the Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) Supply Reduction Project on behalf of Tangentyere Council Incorporated.

  32. Richards, K., Rosevear, L. and Gilbert, R. (2011) Promising Interventions for Reducing Indigenous Offending. Brief 10, March 2011, Canberra, Indigenous Justice Clearing House.

  33. Sampson, R.J. (1997) Neighbourhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277: 918–925.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Schwartz, M. (2010) Building communities, not prisons: Justice reinvestment and Indigenous over-imprisonment. Australian Indigenous Law Review, 14: 2–17.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Stastny, A. and Orr, R. (2014) The influence of the US Black Panthers on indigenous activism in Australia and New Zealand from 1969 onwards. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2014: 60–74.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Stewart, A., Livingston, M. and Dennison, S. (2008) Transitions and turning points: Examining the links between child maltreatment and juvenile offending. Child Abuse and Neglect, 32: 51–66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Sutton, A., Cherney, A. and White, R. (2014) Crime Prevention: Principles, Perspectives and Practices. Port Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Taylor-Walker, J. (2010) Clash of the Paradigms: Night Patrols in Remote Central Australia. Masters in Criminal Justice. Perth: University of Western Australia. Retrieved from

  39. Walker, J. and Forrester, S. (2002) Tangentyere Remote Area Night Patrol. Crime Prevention Conference. Sydney: AIC and Attorney-General’s Dept.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The evaluation of models of youth night patrols was commissioned by the Australian Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department. The authors would like to thank the research participants and the staff of the department for their support.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Trudi Cooper.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cooper, T., Scott, J., Barclay, E. et al. Crime prevention and young people: Models and future direction for youth night patrols. Crime Prev Community Saf 18, 266–283 (2016).

Download citation


  • crime prevention
  • models
  • night patrols
  • Indigenous
  • youth
  • Australian