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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 14:53 GMT
Arts can cut crime, says Jowell
Youth crime has been making headlines
Youth crime has been making headlines
More arts and sport projects will be used to help cut juvenile crime, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has announced.

She told a conference on Arts and Young Offenders at London's Tate Modern gallery that music workshops, Shakespeare performances and dance classes can give young people an alternative to burglary, vandalism and violence.

Tessa Jowell
Ms Jowell says arts can encourage young offenders
The crime rate has fallen in areas where young people are involved in projects to get them off the streets and engaged in creative pursuits, she said.

The speech came as newspaper front pages are filled with stories of young criminals, including an 11-year-old Bristol girl who was caught on camera smashing her way into a shop.

Ms Jowell said the reasons young people turn to crime include having "no role models, no self respect, no self discipline, and nothing better to do".

"Surely the answer is staring us in the face," she said.

'Take responsibility'

"Engaging them in sport or the arts gives them all the tools they need to make a success of their lives and keep them off crime."

"The arts and sport can encourage young offenders to make choices, decisions and personal statements, to have enthusiasm, to take risks and take responsibility."

One example was seen last week, when Labour MP David Lammy invited singer Alicia Keys to meet schoolchildren from his Tottenham constituency because he said she was a good role model.

Ms Jowell was launching Creative Partnerships, 16 schemes to let young people work with those involved in culture and the arts in areas of "social and cultural deprivation".

Crime rates

The crime rate in areas where the Youth Justice Board staged similar projects in summer 2000 fell by 6% compared with a national rise of 3.8%, she said.

Criminal damage was down by 14% and domestic burglary by 27%, she added.

She has also told the people who distribute lottery money to consider the needs of young people.

She pointed to a Shakespearean company that stages workshops in young offenders' institutions, and a Billy Elliot-style ballet project in one of the most deprived areas of Bristol as schemes already in place.

See also:

20 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Crime forum pledges tough action
15 Mar 02 | Music
Alicia makes Commons 'hip'
01 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Lottery urged to help deprived areas
12 Oct 99 | Education
Tap dancing boosts results
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