Deterring drivers : An initiative to reduce car theft and joyriding by young people in Townsville

Technical report


Dodd, Shannon, Morgan, Morgan, Dillon, Anthony, Lawton, Luke and Harfield, Clive. (2023). Deterring drivers : An initiative to reduce car theft and joyriding by young people in Townsville Brisbane, Australia: Australian Catholic University. https://doi.org/10.26199/acu.8z9v6
AuthorsDodd, Shannon, Morgan, Morgan, Dillon, Anthony, Lawton, Luke and Harfield, Clive
TypeTechnical report
Abstract

The Deterring Drivers program is a pilot initiative that aims to better understand the motivations of young people who engage, or are at risk of engaging, in car theft and joyriding and to deter them from these activities in the future. Developed by a team of researchers with collective expertise in criminology, policing, road safety, psychology, and medicine/health, the program is designed for young people aged 13-17 years, with a specific focus on at-risk First Nations youth.

Participants in the program attend a one-day weekly session for six consecutive weeks. Each session begins with an educational talk delivered by an expert in medicine, policing, or psychology, together with talks delivered by crime victims. Considering research that shows that joyriding participants give little thought to the inherent dangers of these activities (Dawes, 2002), the aim of these sessions is to educate young people about the dangers of car theft and joyriding and to enhance levels of empathy for victims of crime and the wider community. These sessions also aim to empower participants to make better decisions and highlight the importance of being a good role model to family and peers. In addition to these educational sessions, the program incorporates several ‘hands-on’ recreational activities, such as panel beating workshops, a visit to a golf driving range, and the completion of a high-ropes course. The panel beating sessions are designed to channel participants’ interest in cars in a positive, safe, and legal manner (Dhami, 2008), while the other hands-on activities are intended to bring participants together using safe adrenaline-based bonding activities to combat feelings of social isolation or exclusion (Dawes, 2002). Further, these activities encourage participants to reflect on concepts related to dangerous driving and car accidents, including speed, momentum, and impact.

This report details an evaluation of the pilot of the Deterring Drivers program, that took place over a six-week period in March and April 2023 in Townsville, Queensland. The city of Townsville is experiencing high rates of car theft and joyriding among young people, ranking fourth among Australian local government areas for motor vehicle theft (National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, 2021). These issues are causing growing displeasure amongst Townsville residents (Smith, 2018), thus calling for a targeted response to address this issue. The Deterring Drivers program was specifically designed in response to the issues being experienced in Townsville, with the aim of reducing instances of car theft and joyriding in that city and inspiring youth to engage in more prosocial activities.

Keywordscar theft; joyriding; young people; community-based; intervention
Year2023
PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Place of publicationBrisbane, Australia
Page range1-59
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26199/acu.8z9v6
FunderDepartment of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs, Queensland Government
Open accessOpen access
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online04 Sep 2023
Publication process dates
Completed05 Sep 2023
Deposited04 Sep 2023
Additional information

Report access is currently restricted at the request of the authors.

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