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The number of robberies across the Redfern, New South Wales area has fallen dramatically thanks to a mentor program targeting juveniles at risk of criminal activity. The Clean slate without prejudice program which promotes routine and discipline through boxing and fitness is helping vulnerable youth stay out of trouble.
First trialled in 2009, Redfern Local Area Commander Luke Freudenstein said the program had had an 'incredible impact' on the community, with not one Aboriginal juvenile charged for committing a robbery in Redfern so far this year. 'One year we had 100 robberies in one month ... Since we started the program, offender and recidivism rates have steadily reduced.' he said.
A keen boxer, Superintendent (Supt) Freudenstein can be found at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) gym three mornings a week, putting Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth through their paces. He and his good friend, the Tribal Warrior's Shane Phillips, have been involved from day one and they continue to work together to identify youth in danger of sliding into crime.
While Supt Freudenstein stressed that a greater number of non-Aboriginal youth were responsible for robbery offences and that Clean slate was open to all, the impact on the Aboriginal community had been particularly positive. 'Aboriginal youth who are or have been involved in the program are now setting the benchmark for the adults in the community in terms of how to conduct yourself.' Supt Freudenstein said. 'This initiative is unique to Redfern and has created a safe community with a lot of hope and sense of worth for our youth.'
Source: South Sydney Herald