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Discuss The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Current Emphasis Placed Upon Scientific Evaluation Of What Works In Crime Prevention For Both Policy Makers And Criminologists

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Essay Preview: Discuss The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Current Emphasis Placed Upon Scientific Evaluation Of What Works In Crime Prevention For Both Policy Makers And Criminologists

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Within this assignment I will attempt to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of the current emphasis which is placed upon the scientific evaluation of crime prevention.

I will explore the many different ways in which crime prevention is addressed. The first part of this assignment is looking into the emergence of crime prevention and community safety and why it is required in today's society.

Within the last decades of the twentieth Century, nation-states have been unable to meet their core responsibility to provide communities with security, especially when it comes to physical security from criminal attacks. This has lead to a 'fear of crime' within today's society.

(Hughes 2002 P3)

Punishment did not appear to work and the prison's were bulging with convicted criminals, who time after time re-offended. There were also problems and issues with the costs and the influences of the traditional criminal justice system.

(Huges and Lewis, 1998: Clarke et al, 2000)

Martinson 1974 cited in Tilley 2002 summed it up by saying, "Nothing Works".

The major influence for the Government was money. They had to limit expenditure, and containment was not an option as this was very expensive. The only possible way forward was prevention.

This lead the Government to rethink their idea's, which saw a shift from the pursuit of the criminal to the prevention of crime

(Stevenson 2000b cited in Hughes 2002 p3)

Since 1980 crime prevention has become a significant concern for any Government.

For example the Conservative Government's policy on their commitment to "Safer Communities" And their campaign on the "War on Crime and Disorder"

(Tim Hope 2000, p.xiii cited in Hughes 2002 p2)

Crime prevention finally became centre stage as a result of rising crime figures. Crime was on average rising 5.7% per annum.

(Tilley 2002 p15)

Although it has been argued that some of the Conservative Partys economic polices were liable to have the unintended effects on the raising crime rates, through unemployment and reducing the perceived prospects for young people and producing greater relative deprivation.

(Field, 1990; Sampson and Laub, 1993 cited in Tilley 2002 p15)

Since the 1980's there has been a rise in neo -liberal modes of Governance and the moving away from "social" strategies of collective risk management and inclusive modes of social control. New modes include "Responsiblization" a more restricted and "Prudentialist" notion of risk management.

Crime prevention can be placed in to a criminological Paradigm. With Primary, Secondary and Tertiary sections being identified.

The Primary section identifies the area's that through better education and design can help prevent crime. For example the design of new buildings and the introduction of burglar alarms.

"It costs nothing to make crime one of the factors which is routinely considered when, say, new policies for the delivery of social services are planned, or new housing estates are built . . ."


Secondary seeks to target potential offenders through early identification. The majority of all crime prevention initiatives fall into the Secondary sections, for example schemes run in under privilege areas like the Kirkolt Project.

The kirkholt project focused on repeat victims of burglaries. This was done by the targeting of victims and the surrounding houses with preventative measures. Thus reducing the number of burglaries.

The success of the Kikholt project saw other initiatives being implemented these targeted the victims of racial attacks, domestic violence, commercial burglary, school vandalism and others.

Tertiary deals with offenders and the crime prevention interventions which can be put into place to make sure they do not re-offend. These include reform, rehabilitation and Incapacitation.

(Brantingham and Faust 1976 p290)

The head of the Research and Planning Unit (RPU) Ron Clarke expressed concerns with what he felt was a 'dispositional' approach to criminality. Instead he wanted to focus more on the situational cues to crime commission, with the emphasis on opportunity reduction.

This approach gave the Government the chance to embrace crime prevention without being seen as being 'soft' towards offenders. And to show that offenders were still responsible for their own acts.

Within Clarke's work he was uncritical of the many aspects of the Conservative's Policies that could create more problems of criminality within the social structure. His approach was strictly and without any doubt situational. He outlined three main area's that attention should be paid to;

Crime reduction, this would be the identifying modifiable features of the situation for offending

One solution does not fit all .

to test the consequences of crime reduction measures. Do they really work or are we just moving the problem around, displacement?

(Tilley 2002 p16)

In 1983 the Crime Prevention Unit was established at the Home Office. This was headed by Kevin Heal, and his first Principal Research Office Gloria Laycock. The idea behind this was to promote,

".....activities and gave advice about many varied styles of crime prevention practised by many and varied groups and institutions."

(Ibid 2002 p17)

The unit established inter-agency working with other important agencies that have a vested interest in crime prevention. For example education, environment, health etc.

During 1983 -1987 there were a number of crime prevention initiatives introduced, like the neighbourhood watch schemes and the 'five town's' project.

The only problem that emerged from the 'Five Town's' Initiative was that no actual research evaluation was included. So in theory how would we know whether or not it had been a success?

(Crawford 1998 p78)

And then in 1988 the first report into the highly influential



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