Australia’s aboriginals try a novel approach to fighting crime

Sep 13, 2018

EVERY day James Moore meets police at a community centre for aboriginal people in Bourke. He and the officers swap reports of trouble during the previous 24 hours. A local aboriginal himself, Mr Moore says he wants to change the mindset of the town, which had a romantic past as a booming river port but became better known for its rampant crime, especially among aboriginals. The daily briefings are part of a novel experiment aimed at making the town safer.

“Back of Bourke” is Australian vernacular for the outback. The town faces the Darling River, about 800km north-west of Sydney in the state of New South Wales. About a third of its almost 3,000 people are aboriginals. Until recently, Bourke had one of the state’s highest imprisonment rates for aboriginals under 17. (Nationwide they are just over 2% of the population, but more than a quarter of prison inmates.)

In its late-19th-century heyday, people called Bourke Australia’s “Chicago of the west” because of its wealth from wool....

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