Theexecution of the Citizen Security Programme was rooted within the community, asthey aimed to prevent violence by creating safe and responsible communities thatpersonified respect, inclusiveness and diversity. While the community was seenas the focal point of the CSP, the precise definition of community, has been atopic of substantial debate among academics (Shaw, 2006). According to theCentre for Disease Control (2004), there is no universally accepted definitionof community, since what one person may identify as a community may notnecessarily match another person’s definition. The concept of community appearsto vary according to context; with each interpretation consisting of a complexset of ideas and practices (Hastings & Jamieson, 2002).In some instances, community refers to groups of people, living within aspecific geographic location, sharing similar norms and values whilst includingassets such as schools, hospitals and businesses; while at other times, community may also refer to peoplewho share similar interests, experiences, cultures or backgrounds but do notnecessarily have a geographic location (Kovener & Webster , 2005). Persons can belong to more than one communityat any given time since membership can be attained by choice such as voluntaryassociations or by virtue of innate personal characteristics such as agegender, race or ethnicity (Centre for Disease Control, 2004).
In an effort to achieve the aims of the engagement, the CSP neglected tooperationalize “community”. In doing so, a cloud of vagueness and ambiguity wascreated from the inception of the project. Furthermore, the ambiguity associatedwith defining community is sometimes used to justify its fundamental role incrime prevention without a solid understanding of what community is (Dunbar, 2010). However, theambiguity associated with “community” also acts as another reason for itsappeal (Jamieson, 2008). This ambiguity creates avenues for multipleinterpretations, which enable policy makers and practitioners, to appropriatethe concept of “community” to suit their own needs (Jamieson, 2008). Ideally, thecommunity allows for the creation of positive associations, permits multipleinterpretations, is representative and has a broad appeal (Jamieson, 2008).
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