Safe & Green City

 

“But if the streets display the physical panorama of stone and wood and metal, of hills and water, they also introduce the citizens themselves as they move about in their daily round of business and leisure, displaying their characteristic gestures, their accent, their public personality. The citizen blossoms on the street, enlivened by a hurried greeting, a handshake or a passing smile…..….City streets are a rendezvous with humanity.” Dr. S.F. Pettit; This City of Cork 1700-1900, p13

Safe & Green City - Policy

The Strategy Statement 2013-2015 of An Garda Síochána sets out the strategic goals, objectives and principal initiatives directing the organisation including its approach to crime. The An Garda Síochána Annual Report 2013 outlines more detailed performance indicators relevant to the goals established above and the relative success in meeting them. The Child and Family Agency’s (TUSLA) first Corporate Plan outlines the agency’s overarching vision of an Ireland in which ‘all children are safe and achieving their full potential’. Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures: The national policy framework for children & young people 2014-2020, contains further actions that seek to keep children and young people safe and protected from harm.

The Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) is charged with overseeing policing in the City.  Its structures include Local Policing Fora, Policing district management committees and the Joint Policing Committee itself.  The JPC membership is made up of City Councillors, An Garda Síochána, City Council Executive and the Cork City Public Participation Network. A six year strategic plan has been agreed by the JPC and will direct its work until 2021.

In 1973, the same year Ireland joined the then European Economic Community (EEC), the European Commission unveiled its first Environmental Action Programme (EAP) with the stated aims of preventing environmental damage, conserving an ecological equilibrium, and ensuring the rational use of natural resources. Forty years and six EAPs later, the environmental policy landscape of the EU has changed dramatically. Climate Change, an issue virtually unheard of 40 years ago, is now the driving force behind European environmental policy.  The Green City concept is one that minimises environmental impacts and maximises opportunities to improve and support the natural environment in urban areas through measures such as energy efficiencies, waste reduction, low carbon transport and water cycle management. Guidelines such as The Green City Guidelines (2008) seek to ensure that these aims are realised.

The European Commission’s Country Report Ireland 2015, indicated that significant national challenges need to be addressed, noting that “Ireland is not on track to reach its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and that policies to address climate-related commitments are insufficient”.   In response, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has developed a programme to support the delivery of Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) as a community led approach to “...developing a sustainable-energy system”. National exemplars of SECs have demonstrated how local communities can develop actions to significantly reduce their energy consumption, in some cases leading to the establishment of related social enterprises and community business initiatives.

This is the environmental policy agenda with which Cork City Council and other stakeholders in the city must now engage. The city’s environment, amenities, heritage sites, parks, gardens, landscapes and streetscapes all make a significant contribution to the well-being of all our residents, visitors and businesses. They not only provide us with a sense of identity and cultural well-being, they are also a key contributor to our economy and play an important role in supporting and cultivating a vibrant community and voluntary sector.

Cork City Energy Agency, a section of the Cork City Council, aims to develop, ratify and implement coherent energy policy for Cork City Council. The agency has spearheaded many energy initiatives and contributed to the development of energy policy at local, national an EU level. The Lifetime Lab Information Centre located in the city centre, provide information on different environmental topics including Energy, Waste and Water. The Cork Food Policy Council is another example of a locally driven initiative that has formed to work towards the achievement of a fairer, healthier, more secure and sustainable food system within the city and throughout the region.

Safe & Green City – Stats and Facts

The number of recorded offences in Cork City has reduced year on year since 2011

In 2014 Cork City had the eighth highest no. of offences recorded (per 10,000 pop) of the 28 Garda Divisions in the State. The number of offences recorded in 2014 (12,506) has reduced year on year since 2011 (15,422). Theft and related offences (31%) and public order offences (21%) were the highest recorded crimes in the city in 2014.  The city had higher levels of public order offences, damage to property, and attempts/threats to murder/assault/harass than the State averages in 2014.

An analysis of recorded crimes in the 15 Garda stations that operated wholly or partly within Cork City in 2014 shows that the 15 to 64 age cohort are the most likely to be victims of “crimes against the person” and “property crimes”. Women generally fall victim to rape, sexual assault and domestic violence in greater proportions than men, with higher rates in Cork City than the State average. The majority of the population of the city in the intermediate age range (18-64) experienced crime in a public place. The youngest and oldest cohorts living in the city are least likely to be victims of crimes, with the 0 to 14 age cohort most likely to be victimised in homes. A study on the fear of violent crime in public spaces in Cork City found that 72% of women surveyed feared sexually motivated crimes.[1]

Rising global demand for food is placing more pressure on national and regional agricultural production with climate change already reducing agricultural yields. As oil prices remain high, increasing areas of land are now used to grow bio fuels rather than food. Key operators in the city are also embracing the need for long term sustainability, with Cork University Hospital (CUH) being the first hospital in the world to be awarded the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ for its efforts in reducing its carbon footprint.

 

[1] Women's fear of violent crime in public space in Cork”, Irish Geography, Volume 36(2), 2003,178-193, Liam Coakley