Policing

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A vigil in memory of Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police. Baton Rouge, Louisiana. REUTERS/Jeffrey Dubinsky

Why is it so hard to improve American policing?

For 50 years, we have worked to make U.S. police more diverse and less intrusive. Why haven't we made more progress?
How effective are drug-detection dogs in minimising harm? AAP/Paul Miller

Why drug-detection dogs are sniffing up the wrong tree

Drug-detection dogs don't stop most drug use. And they have been shown to encourage more dangerous practices, criminalise and traumatise marginalised groups, and render all as potential suspects.
In response to the surge of crime in the mid-1990s, suburban dwellers in South Africa began to fortress their houses. Shutterstock

Beyond the unthinkable? City dwellings without security walls

In response to high levels of crime, South Africans have turned their homes into fortresses, seeking security behind high walls. But doing so might be counter-productive.
A harsh criminal justice system – in particular, more prisons and people behind bars – has apparently become a hallmark of good government. AAP/Dave Hunt

How ‘tough on crime’ politics flouts death-in-custody recommendations

Australia has become less compassionate, more punitive and more ready to blame individuals for their alleged failings since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
In the Netflix series Making a Murderer, Brendan Dassey is subject to interrogation tactics known as the ‘Reid technique’. Netflix

Making a Murderer: why innocent people confess under interrogation

Innocent people do confess under interrogation to crimes they did not commit, even providing details about the crime. What leads them to falsely confess to very serious crimes?
Australia has more police relative to population than ever before and they are a costly form of crime prevention. AAP/Mitchell Burke

Do we need more police, or are there better ways to cut crime?

Police are important, but not sufficient, in the crime-reduction effort. I have enormous faith in their abilities, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we need more of them.
Sydney’s Kings Cross precinct has 3AM ‘last-drinks’ laws and 1:30AM lockouts for premises that serve alcohol. AAP/April Fonti

Last-drink’ laws, not lockouts, reduce alcohol-fuelled violence

As Queensland considers new laws to curb alcohol-fuelled violence in response to a one-punch death, several policy experiments that have occurred in recent years can provide valuable lessons.

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