The Acoustics of Crime: New Ways of Ensuring Young People Are Not Seen and Not Heard

Melissa Bull


The topic of hooning has been a recent addition to the political agenda. Over the last 10 years states throughout Australia have engaged in law and order style auctions to see which jurisdiction can introduce the harshest penalties to prevent this behaviour. This paper explains that these legislative moves have not been inspired by the preservation of human life – which has tended to be the rationale behind the criminalisation of other traffic infringements like speeding. Instead it describes how the introduction of what safety experts describe as ‘draconian penalties’ has been linked to the acoustics and amenability of the crime. This paper demonstrates how hooning laws and penalties that target the ‘outlandish driver behaviour’ of some young people provide an exemplar of the authoritarian dimensions of neo-liberal rule. These harsh laws are a governmental response to restoring neighbourhood peace that employ tactics beyond the traditional punitive approaches which seek to discipline offenders.


anti-hooning legislation, danger, amenity, disruption

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