Crime Prevention Strategies

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Situational Crime Prevention

(right realism)

  • Ron Clarke : society can use changes to the physical enviroment to make it harder to commit crime.
  • 3 features of SCP : 1) directed at specific crime 2) involve managing or altering the immediate enviroment 3) aim to increase the effort and risks of commiting crime
  • Target hardening: making objects harder to steal or harder to commit crime eg CCTV, security gaurds, special electronic locked doors.
  • Felson (1998): Port Authority Terminal in NYC was poorly designed and provided deviant oppotunity eg washing and sleeping there
  • COntrats with theories of crime that stress 'root causes' such as socialisation and class
  • Suicide in 1960s: overall suicide stat declined when sucides by gassing declined

Displacement [AO2]

  • SCP does not prevent crime but it displaces it eg criminals will move from locations of target hardening to "softer" locations
  • Displacement can take many forms : 1)spatial 2)temporal 3)target 4)tactical 5)functional
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Evaluation of SCP


1) Displacement

2) SCP works to some extent in reducing some crimes, however mostly displacement

3) Tends to focus on oppoutnistic petty street crime - ignores white collar crime

4) Assumes criminals make rational observations (unlikely in crimes of sudden violence or crimes commited under influence of drugs and alcohol)

5) Ignores the root causes of crime (such as poverty and socialisation) making it difficult to develop long term strategies for crime prevention and reduction.

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Structualist & Interventionist Crime Prevention


  • This theory claims that crime is caused by societys inequalities and is supported by Marxists and Left Realists. Left realists have a multi angency approach.
  • Subcultures also suppoer this and claim in order to prevent crime we must delve into subculture and see what happening to chnage the structure and thus whas is percieved to be deviant behaviour. They also place a high value on the education system and subcultures - to try and involve at risk individuals into the school system to make them feel less excluded and apart of something hopefully preventing the need to turn to subcultures.
  • They argue in order to prevent crime we must redistribute wealth and thus this will limit relative deprivation, political marginilisation, poverty and subcultures

Some people are more likely to commit crime than others and thus we must try to stop reoffending.
To prevent crime we must use prison and community service in order to prevent criminal and deviant behaviour from  re-occuring. If a youth is re-offending the courts may put on a parenting order with the view that changing the style of parenting will change the socialisation - intervene. 

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Enviromental Crime Prevention

  • Wilson and Kelling: Broken Window study - broken windows are a sign of disorder that arent dealt with send out signals that no one cares, encouraging a spiral decline.
  • An absense of formal & informal social control around ( as police are only around the more serious crimes) means members of the community feel powerless and intimidated
  • Respected members of the community move away as the area becomes a magnet for deviant individuals and criminals

Prevention Strategy

  • Wilson and Kelling: disorder and the absence of control leads to crime
  • Two fold strategy: 1] an enviromental improvement strategy (a broken window must be repaired, abandoned cars towed away etc) 2] police adopt a zero-tolerance policy (they must actively tackle the slighest hint of disorder, even if its not criminal - this will halt neighourhood decline)
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Evidence to support ECP

Zero -tolerance worked in New York - where Kelling was a police advisor

Between 1993-1996 there was a fall in crime : 50% drop in homicide rates from 1,927 to 986

It isnt clear how far zero-tolerance worked:

  • The NYPD benefited from 7,000 extra police officers
  • There was a general decline in crime rates in major US cities - including cities that didnt adopt the zero-tolerance policy
  • The early 1990s had seen a major recession and high unemployment but in 1994 jobs were being created
  • Decline in the availability of crack cocaine
  • Although successful homicides fell, attempted homicides remained high - the fall in murder rate could be down to medical emergency services being improved rather than police?
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