There Are Many Forms of Crime Prevention and Crime Reduction. Explore Two Such Strategies and Illustrate with Practical Examples

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There are many forms of crime prevention and crime reduction. Explore two such strategies and illustrate with practical examples. Background Crime prevention has been in existence since the nineteenth century. It is linked with the period marking the emergence of the modern state. During this period the community handles it own crime preventative measure but it was hard to sustain it. However, they perceived a belief that the criminal justice system could prevent crime alone and propaganda to the effect of their ability to do this were an important element in their legitimation.
The optimism of the late – 1950s, that the system could be tailored to control crime, initially, gave way to crisis management, as measures such as the suspended sentence, parole and community service were designed to take some pressure off our bulging prisons, and latterly melted into a pessimism that “nothing works” (Gilling, 1997). It was against this transformation that crime prevention started to gain grounds. In 1960, Home Secretary established the Cornish Committee on crime prevention and in 1963; Home office’s National Crime Prevention Centre at Strafford for training purposes was established.
The Cornish Committee reported officially in 1965 and in the report focus on the role of the police and the wider society in the prevention of crime. It also `suggested the appointment of specialist crime prevention officers and department. The Cornish Committee also suggested the establishment of crime prevention panel as a means of maintaining/ building relationships between the police and other organisations like; corporate body ,voluntary organisations and statutory services to enable the panel to identify local crime problems and play a role in the prevention of crime. Newburn, 2007). The Cornish Committee had grasped the central significance of unfocused crime prevention and the notion of collaboration. Home office report pointed out that the prevention of crime in terms of blocking opportunities depended on people taking measures to protect themselves and their property from potential offenders. During the 1980s the attention moved from purely situational crime approach to a combination of situational and social crime prevention initiatives.
In 1980 a report by Home Office working Group on crime prevention were presented stating that crime prevention should follow a methodology that was problem- oriented rather than practice-oriented. The police beca me more considerate to the idea of partnership in crime prevention. A Home Office circular released in 1984 was described some years later by commentator as ‘the most comprehensive statement of British policy on crime prevention’.
This circular stated the traditional role of the police in the prevention of crime, also outline the potential contribution of other agencies in the prevention of crime since some factors affecting crime is positioned outside the control of the police. What crime prevention Crime prevention seeks to reduce the risk of crime occurring in a community by influencing their cause and preventing future occurrence. In most cases, crime prevention is always applied where people are not involved in crime but they may be at risk in the future.
Crime prevention considers people (Those who are not involved in criminal activities and tries to prevent them from getting into criminal activities). It also looks at places and situation that have not been troubled by criminal activities and tries to abate such places and from criminal activities occurring. (Criminal Justices Reform). Gilling (1997) states that: ‘ crime prevention incorporates not only the practice of the entire criminal justice system, but also those of many other social and public policies, as well as those of private citizens and private enterprise’.
National Crime Prevention Institution (1986) in the USA, distinguishes between direct crime prevention control, which is proactively addressing opportunities for crime and indirect crime prevention control which are believed to cover everything else. Crime prevention looks at people who are into criminal activities and ask what can be done to prevent them from going into crime; crime prevention also looks at places and situations which are not troubled by criminal activity and seeks how crime can never be a significant problem.
Brantingham and Faust (1976) describe crime prevention as “probably the most overworked and least understood concept in contemporary criminology”. He distinguished crime prevention using medical epidemiology differentiating between the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. •Primary prevention are those actions targeted at the general public with the aim to reducing crime before it occurs. •Secondary prevention are those actions targeted at those considered ‘risk population’ •Tertiary prevention are actions targeted at criminals/offenders to reduce offending and harm in offending.
According to Brantingham & faust primary intervention are regarded as “the ideal objective” as they seek to prevent criminal condition in the society by being proactive. Secondary intervention identifies and treats those who might at risk of crime while tertiary intervention is mainly the criminal justice system and its correction contribution in the offender life. What is crime reduction? Crime reduction is people, places or situations already know for criminal activity. Crime reduction starts with identifying the current problem and proffering solution to reduce the criminal activity and the harm being caused.
Most crime prevention approaches takes place in existing community where there is some level of criminal activity going on, strategies developed to prevent future occurrence of crime is refer to as crime prevention or crime reduction as both concept are aimed at preventing future occurrences of criminality and reduce the rate of crime that occurs. (John lea 2007) Situational crime prevention Situational crime prevention takes theoretical framework from ‘opportunity theory’ of crime; it is stimulated by the development and refinement of the criminologies of everyday life.
Particularly, Rational Choice Theory and Routine Activity Theory. Routine activity theory is associated with Marcus Felon and it states that; increase in crime rates have accompanied changing patterns of routine activities, which have the three necessary conditions for crime, namely a motivated offender, a suitable target and the absence of a capable guardians. According to felon ( cited in Newburn 2007) the lavatories in the bus station were an exact problem, being the site for criminal activities such as: homosexuality, theft of luggage and wallet and drug taking.
Changes made at the bus station produced a significant difference by increasing security and reducing crime. The best option to tighten opportunities is by changing the physical environment which is often referred to “hardening target. Rational Choice Theory is connected with Ron Clarke which has great influence on opportunity; it focuses attention on how certain crime facilitators can influence the choice structuring properties of situation, making criminal event more of a choice. The basic ssumption of Rational Choice Theory is that; “crime is purposive behaviour and it is designed to meet the offender’s need such as; money, status, sex etceteras. Meeting these needs involves the making of choices and decisions, constrained as these are by limits of time and ability and the availability of relevant information. (Clarke 1995). Rational Choice Theory does not focus on the individual’s background, rather on the situational dynamics concerned, whether or not to commit a crime. Clarke (2005) states that; Criminal will commit greater crime if the encounter more criminal opportunities. •Encountering such opportunities will lead to individual seeking more opportunities. •Individual who does not have criminal tendencies may be drawn into criminal behaviour due to criminal opportunities and temptation •Some law abiding individuals may be attracted to certain crime if there regularly encounter easy opportunities for those crime. Supporter of situational crime prevention argues that it easier to change the situation than to change the behaviour of an individual.
Examples of the use of situational crime prevention as strategy for preventing crime include: “Target hardening” This is often very effective way of reducing criminal opportunities is to restrict the the thief or vandal by physical barriers through the use of screens, safes, locks or reinforced materials. Target hardening include “Changes in design” e. g. a slug(fake coin) rejecter device reduced the use of slugs(fake coin) in New York parking meters (Decker, 1972) and, This devise is also use in the ticket machines of the London Underground (Clarke etal. 1994). Transparent screens to protect the bus driver, help reduced assaults on transit system (Poyner et al. , 1988); anti-bandit screens on post office counters in London in the 1980s was conservatively estimated by Ekblom (1988b) to have cut robberies by 40 percent; and the installation of fixed and “pop-up” screens is believed to have been an important element in reducing over-the-counter robberies in Australian banks (Clarke et al, 1991).
A strengthened coin box has been identified in several studies as a significant factor in reducing incidents of theft and damage to public telephones in Britain and Australia (Wilson, 1990; Challinger, 1991; Bridgeman, 1997). The introduction of steering locks on old and new cars in Germany in 1963 give a substantial reduction in the rate of car theft. “Deflecting offenders” At football matches in the UK, rival groups of fans have been separated in the stadium to prevent fighting and also their arrival and departure has been scheduled to avoid the periods of waiting around that promote trouble (Clarke, 1983).
To reduce the closing time brawl, the last bus was schedule to leave immediately after pub closing time. Hope (1985) has suggested that crowds of drunken young people on the streets at closing time could also be reduced by avoiding the concentration of licensed premises in specific parts of the city. The leasing of a downtown parking space in Arlington, Texas, reduced crime problems associated with severe congestion on weekend nights in nearby streets, by providing a venue for teenage cruising, Bell and Burke (1989). Reducing temptation” In some city streets it is dangerous to wear gold chains or leave cars parked which could attract joyriders. Some temptations are not as obvious as others. For example, phone directories which are gender-neutral could reduce obscene phone-calls to women. It has also been found in experimental research that the presence of a weapon, such as a gun, can instigate aggressive responses in some people, this is known as the “weapons effect” (Berkowitz and LePage, 1967).
Another example of reducing temptation is “rapid repair” on the grounds that leaving damaged items unrepaired invites further attacks. Samdahl and Christensen (1985) gave support for this policy by proving that picnic tables that had been carved and scratched were more than twice as likely to be damaged further than new tables. CRITISM OF SITUATIONAL CRIME PREVENTION Some critics have pointed out that; situational crime prevention is only a temporary solution and that social development is the only way to uproot the causes of crime and reduce crime rate.
Social programs are already are targeted at many of the conditions that social development proponents are trying to change, so the incremental changes that can be achieved in the name of crime prevention are likely to be insignificant. Therefore, possible to change the lives of a small number of people through social development programs, but it is much more difficult to expect these programs to have an impact on the overall crime rates.
Although there have been catalogue of successes of situational prevention, it should be noted, that situational prevention is not one hundred percent effective. Though reductions in crime may be considerable (sometimes over 50 percent), situational measures usually make better, not eliminate a problem. In addition, situational measures do not always work as intended for a variety of reasons, including the following: 1.
Measures have sometimes failed due to technical or administrative ineptitude, as when anti-climb paint to prevent school break-ins was too thinly applied (Hope and Murphy, 1983), or when a project to overcome vandalism by replacing broken windows with toughened glass proved too complicated for school maintenance staff to administer (Gladstone, 1980). 2. Some measures have been too easily overcome by offenders, as in the case of the early steering locks in Britain and the U. S. which proved vulnerable to slide hammers (Clarke and Harris, 1992). . Too much vigilance has sometimes been assumed on the part of ordinary citizens or guards: Security guards hardly monitor CCTV systems as closely as CCTV designers expect; people pay far less attention to the street outside their houses than is sometimes assumed by neighborhood watch schemes and defensible space designs (Mayhew, 1979); and people hardly respond to car alarms so that the main result of their increasing use has been to reduce further the quality of life in cities (Clarke and Harris, 1992). 4.
Measures have occasionally provoked offenders to unacceptable growth as in the case of the bullet-proofing of token booths on the U. S. subway which resulted in attacks on booths with petrol-fueled fires (Dwyer, 1991). 5. Some measures have aided rather than frustrated crime: Ekblom (1991) gives the example of pickpockets on the London Underground who stationed themselves near signs warning of theft to see which pockets would be checked by passengers on reading the signs. There has been much focus on increasing the penalties rather than on preventing crime. Situational approaches have suffered from the fact that any criminologists are not comfortable with the theoretical perspective that does not focus on offenders and victims, but rather on the situational context. There have also been concerns about whether situational techniques may lead to a fortress society where actions are always subject to scrutiny. SOCIAL CRIME PREVENTION Social crime preventions are interventions targeted toward preventing criminality or criminal activities focusing on people or group instead situation. It also considers the factors that motivate or encourage some individual (especially the youth) to engage in criminal activities. Newburn 2007) Social crime prevention provides interventions that will make young people grow up to be responsible/ law abiding citizens that is, not having inclination to offend others or commit crime. Social Crime Prevention can be divided into two broad types namely: Developmental and Community Crime Prevention. Developmental Prevention: Development prevention focuses on young people since they are more at risk of offending behaviour. Longitudinal research has pointed out that some young people are more at risk of offending than others; some of these risks identified are listed below: •Social deprivation Living in decaying overcrowded areas •A high degree of recklessness • low school attainment •Poor parental care and poor discipline •Broken homes and parental conflict The main aim of this approach is to identify the risk factor in relation to the offender or the offending group (the youth which are more vulnerable to offending) and proffering solutions that will counter them. For example social deprivation can be tackled through income distribution, housing improvement and better education. The most obvious form of Juvenile Crime Prevention is associated Street Policing which has to do with targeting the oung people, deterring from the street before get committed to criminality. Community crime prevention was initiated to strengthen communities and restore informal security and social control of crime. This involved agencies that may have different goal, existing in an environment, partnering to reduce the fear of crime and improve the community. That is, neighbourhood taking responsibility of their security, developing a working relationship with the police to reduce the opportunity for crime and solving problem inherent in the community.
Community Crime Prevention does pro-active crime prevention (problem oriented policing), the problem confronting the community is being identified by the community then involving the police in solving or reducing the problem (Newburn, 2007). Social crime prevention takes its theoretical perspective from “Broken window theory”. Wilson and kelling (1982) argues that if a window in a building is broken and left unrepaired that soon the rest of the windows will be broken.
The entire window getting broken will not just happen in a day, if a broken window is left unrepaired it is a sign that nobody cares, these will encourage more windows to be broken. According to Wilson and kelling, ‘we must curb the sign of disorder by taking action to clean up the street’. For effective juvenile crime prevention, there should be deterrence that is, proactive action designed stop the youth from certain activities by allowing the police to remove youth from the street beyond certain time. (McLaughlin el at 2005)
CRITICISM OF SOCIAL CRIME PREVENTION Social crime prevention probably has less intuitive appeal than situational crime prevention as a putative solution to crime, because the causes it seeks to address are more distant than the immediate situation, and because the preventive strategies are often uncertain, diffuse, and seemingly only of benefit in the medium to long term. It is more likely to find favour amongst those on who support progressive social reforms to counteract the negative criminogenic consequences of market societies.
These are some of the various criticisms that have been levelled at the approach. Firstly, there are range of questions revolving a round the issue of effectiveness. Critics (Clarke and Cornish, 1983) have pointed out that what could be regarded as a mass exercise in social crime prevention, namely the establishment of the welfare state from the late-1940s through to the 1970s, coincided not with a period in which national crime rates fell, but rather with a period in which we witnessed a substantial rise, contrary to what many had anticipated.
Others (Crawford, 1998) question the logic of such thinking, pointing out that crime rates actually rose faster f rom the end of the 1970s through to the 1990s a period marked by the dismantling of parts of the welfare state, and substantially widening income inequalities.
The point remains, nevertheless, that the kinds of changes required by social crime prevention, to living standards, quality of life issues, education, parenting, a developing sense of community and so forth, are all essentially long-term changes that are manifestly harder to achieve than the relatively quick and easy manipulations of the physical environment required by the situational approach (Pease, 2002).
Secondly, set of criticisms revolves around the issue of the accuracy of social crime prevention interventions, and the question of whether they hit the right targets, or are themselves the right interventions. The main underlying problem here is that the primary targets of social crime prevention are potential offenders; that is, people who have not yet been processed through the criminal justice system, and who are therefore not officially known.
In the absence of ‘hard knowledge’ of those who are likely to offend, practitioners have to rely upon ‘soft knowledge’, in the form of social scientific prediction, which as we have seen is based upon the possession of risk factors, or the highcrime location in which a person lives. Yet these predictions are fraught with problems: people may possess certain risk factors and yet not go on to offend, and most people who live in high-crime areas do not in fact turn to crime.
This means that interventions may end up being targeted at people who do not really need them for purposes of crime prevention. On the one hand, in the context of scarce resources, this might be seen as a potential waste; though on the other hand, because there are reasons, other than crime prevention, for addressing social deprivation, inadequate parenting, and other risk factors, this might be regarded as a perfectly acceptable opportunity cost, or even a spin-off, of any intervention.
The third general criticism that can be directed at social crime prevention is that, like situational crime prevention, it can produce unwanted side-effects. Risk-based thinking has its own dynamic which can end up widening the net of social control, and a good example of this is the way that developmental crime prevention has extended its reach to the foetal stage: we can now identify children at risk of criminality before they have been born, by targeting their risky mothers, and ‘helping’ them with parenting skills and other forms of social support.
When such help is offered on a voluntary basis this may be just about acceptable, but where compulsion or coercion is involved, there are major ethical concerns. In conclusion, crime prevention ultimately boils down to approaches that rest upon different understandings of the causes of crime, namely situational crime prevention and social crime prevention. Situational crime prevention now boasts an array of often highly creative techniques oriented towards the manipulation of opportunities that makes crime harder to commit.
Social crime prevention incorporates developmental measures that seek in effect to neutralise the risk factors that threaten to propel risky individuals—particularly young people—into crime, and (community measures that seek variously to bring organisation to disorganised communities, or to strengthen communities by addressing the structural disadvantages that have resulted, ultimately, in their social exclusion).
Each approach has its attractions, but also its flaws, though these are often specific to particular measures, deployed in particular contexts, rather than to the approach as a whole (not all situational crime prevention results in displacement, for example, whilst not all social crime prevention hits the wrong targets). The existence of situational and social crime prevention attests not only to different understandings of the causes of crime, but also to contested understandings. That is to say that the choice of how best to prevent crime is not just a technical one, although it is ften dressed up in this way by rationalistic problem-oriented processes, devices such as the Problem Analysis Triangle(the crime triangle), and preventive technologies themselves, such as CCTV, that have an intuitive, common-sense appeal. References Clarke, R. V. (1980). “Situational Crime Prevention: Theory and Practice. ” British Journal of Criminology. 20, 136–147 Clarke, R. V. (1997). “Introduction. ” In: R. V. Clarke (ed. ), Situational Crime Prevention: Successful Case Studies (2nd ed. ). Guilderland, NY: Harrow and Heston Clarke, R. V. and Weisburd, D, (1994). Diffusion of Crime Control Benefits. ” In R. V. Clarke (ed. ), Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 2. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press Clarke, R. V. and Mayhew, P. (1980). Designing out Crime. London: H. M. S. O. Cornish. D. B. and Clarke, R. V. (eds. ) (1986). The Reasoning Criminal. Rational Choice Perspectives on Offending. New York: Springer-Verlag. Cornish. D. B. and Clarke, R. V. (1987). “Understanding Crime Displacement: An Application of Rational Choice Theory. ” Decker, J. F. (1972). Curbside Deterrence: An Analysis of the Effect of a Slug Rejector Device.
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The British Journal of Criminology. 36(4), 445-471. Home Offi ce (1991) Safer Communities: The Local Delivery of Crime Prevention Through the Partnership Approach. London: Home Offi ce. Hope, T. (1995) ‘Community crime prevention’ in M. Tonry and D. Farrington (eds) Building a Safer Society. Chicago: Chicago University Press. Hope, T. and Foster, J. (1992) ‘Confl icting forces: changing the dynamics of crime and community on a ‘problem’ estate’. British Journal of Criminology 32(4): 488–504. Hough, M. , Clarke, R. , and Mayhew, P. (1980) ‘Introduction’ in R.
Clarke and P. Mayhew (eds) Designing Out Crime. London: HMSO. Hughes, G. (1998) Understanding Crime Prevention. Buckingham: Open University Press. Hughes, G. , McLaughlin, E. , and Muncie, J. (eds) (2002) Crime Prevention and Community Safety: New Directions. London: Sage. Jeffery, C. R. (1971). Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications Jeffery, C. R. (1977). Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications Knox, J. , Pemberton, A. , and Wiles, P. (2000) Partnerships in Community

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