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York University
CRIM 3654
James Sheptycki

CRIM 3654 – FALL BOOK NOTES th Readings for September 20 Conceptualising Crime Prevention and Community Safety - Aims: o 1) the reader will begin to build a conceptual map of the terrain out of which crime prevention politics, policies and practices are formulated and promoted o 2) expose some of the assumptions which lie, sometimes hidden, behind the use of particular concepts and terms o 3) specify some of the questions the reader should ask about certain strategies, courses of actions and initiatives The Purposes and Uses of Classification - Crime prevention is a concept of almost unending elasticity o At one extreme, crime prevention can be very narrowly defined in terms of physical security techniques or apparatuses o At other extreme, it can be extended to encompass any interventions which are perceived to have some beneficial impact on the physical or social world - Crime prevention is activity which results in inactivity: a “non-crime” - As a social construct, “crime” is not static but culturally informed - All crime prevention measures embody assumptions or theories about the causes of crime: what it is about a given intervention which leads to it having particular preventive outcomes - It is important to know about the process and the outcome, as well as the impact of the former on the latter - Three broad levels at which to analyse crime prevention: theory, implementation, and evaluation Defining Crime Prevention: its Conceptual Boundaries - Crime prevention lies somewhere between policing and processes if social control Crime Prevention and Community Safety - Community safety is the preferred term for many precisely because it reflects a broader approach to crime prevention o Through reference to the term “safety”, it encompasses not just crime, but also the wider physical and social impact of crime and the anxieties to which it gives rise - Proponents argue that crime is related to wider social problems o Crime is rarely the only problem within a community, and hence measures to address crime also need to address these wider issues o Crime is the outcome of a variety of influencing factors and conditions which are overlaid on each other - The term “community safety” is also preferable because it stresses the idea that action to prevent crime should be local o It is simultaneously a target of, and a resource for, crime prevention - Since considerable degree of crime, particularly that which has a direct impact on people’s everyday lives, is local in nature, it follows that crime prevention should reflect this through a “community” focus - Multi-agency or partnership approach is favoured in that it affords an holistic approach to crime which is problem-oriented rather than organisationally led - Community safety, it is argued, incorporates and encompasses a greater diversity of activity and people which itself, is believed, will assist in the reduction of crime - Some have warned of the dangers of turning crime prevention into a “catch all” category by forever stretching its boundaries, because it will lose its sense of specificity and become virtually meaningless in its desire to be all encompassing - Van Dijk: - Definition of crime prevention: o “the total of all policies, measures and techniques, outside the boundaries of the criminal justice system, aiming at the reduction of the various kinds of damage caused by acts defined as criminal by the state”  Definition seeks to focus attention on informal strategies outside of the criminal justice system. However, by doing this he unnecessarily and falsely rigidifies distinction between what is inside and what is outside the boundaries of the criminal justice system Fear of Crime - Victimisation surveys have shown that anxiety about concern over crime leads to changes in individual behaviour patterns, which itself may have an adverse impact on community life and processes of informal social control - Fear has come to be treated predominantly a function of risk - There is a paradox that those who are most fearful are least often victims - No convincing evidence that criminal victimisation produces greater fear of crime than does the lack of being victimised - Fear of crime has come to be seen as analytically separate from the problem of crime itself o As a consequence, people’s fears have come to be seen as deserving specific policy attention almost irrespective of issues about the incidence of crime - there is an important paradox in the connection between community safety and fear of crime o policies addressed at the first may actually serve to increase the latter by reminding people of their vulnerability  fear is an incentive for crime prevention, one which commercial interests are willing to exploit - growth of crime prevention may be a symptom of a deeper sense of insecurity Strategy and Structure - strategy refers to a systematic and coherent set of methods for attaining given ends o specifies the measures which collectively form part of an overall and long-term strategic approach - structure refers to an institutional configuration through which policy-making and service delivery are arranged o identifies the processes and organisational arrangements which need to be in place in order to deliver the strategy - it is suggested that structure should be dependent on the nature of the strategy envisaged and, hence, that the strategy should precede the structure and inform it - the very idea of a strategy suggests that ad hoc developments are insufficient to address social role of crime prevention - the importance of developing strategic and structured approaches to crime prevention has to confront the need to take account of and respond to local contexts and variations in crime conditions - one of the key issues in crime prevention is the appropriate balance of responsibilities and powers between central government and agencies on one hand, and local areas or communities on the other Classifying Types of Crime Prevention - two concerns: o 1) nature of the measure itself and the processes or structures that it seeks to alter o 2) the intended target audience for the measure, or to whom it is addressed - Lejins attempted to define crime prevention, differentiating between the techniques employed in various crime prevention activities: o Punitive, prevention, or deterrence o Corrective prevention, or the elimination of criminogenic social conditions o Mechanical prevention, or measures to reduce criminal opportunities - Unlike Van Dijk, he broadens the field of enquiry beyond its deterrent effect - Tentatively points to forms of proactive prevention which were either concerned with social conditions or physical opportunities - This definition captures tension between reducing opportunities through situational measures and social modes of intervention The Public Health Analogy - The dependent variable is the principal population target at which the initiative is aimed - Primary prevention is work directed at general populations and may involve interventions into the social and physical environment o Address potential criminogenic factors before onset of the problem - Secondary prevention involves work with ‘at risk’ groups of potential offenders: those who have been identified because of some predispositional factors o Target audience deemed to be more prone to criminality and therefore worthy of special attention - Tertiary prevention includes strategies targeted at known offenders in order to reduce further crimes or the harm associated with them - This analogy revolves around nature of relationship between the intended audience and the form of intervention offered o Characterizes elements in the targeting of preventive measures o As a conceptual framework, it allows sufficient flexibility to capture the diverse and fused nature of crime prevention o However, it tells us little about the nature of the activity itself, and lacks sufficient understanding of different philosophical, ideological and political assumptions about crime on which different crime prevention initiatives are premised - Instead, we can build a two-dimensional set of typologies: Primary Secondary Tertiary Victim-Oriented Target-hardening awareness Prevention Repeat victim initiatives, campaigns and “designing out” measures for at risk victim support, compensation crime groups, risk reparation prediction and assessment Community/neighbourhood- Increased formal and natural Targeting at risk Targeting communities with oriented surveillance, neighbourhood groups/places and high levels of crime: “hot watch and other schemes, sources of conflict spots”. Prevention as urban architectural design and within the regeneration environmental planning community, leisure facilities, community mediation Offender-oriented Citizenship programmes, Work with those at Rehabilitation, confront education and socialisation, risk of offending: offending behaviour, target-hardening through particularly youths, aftercare, diversion increasing the effort, increasing the unemployed, programmes the risks, and reducing the etc rewards of crime Situational and Social Prevention - Distinction between the two revolves around the nature of the processes which a crime prevention measure seeks to affect - Social crime prevention is concerned with affecting social processes o Measures aimed tackling root causes of crime and dispositions of individuals to offend o Sometimes synonymous with individual offender-oriented approach – seeks to explain and address social causes of offending behaviour which are seen to lie in the social and economic environment - Some commentators have sought to emphasize the differences within the broad umbrella of “social” crime prevention by identifying two subcategories: o Developmental crime prevention  Interventions designed to prevent the development of criminal potential in individuals, targeting risk factors o Community crime prevention  Concerned with alternations to the social conditions that influence offending in community settings - Situational crime prevention involves the management, design or manipulation of the immediate physical environment so as to reduce the opportunities for specific crimes o Prevention achieved through altering the situational or spatial characteristics of the environment in order to make offending harder or increase likelihood of detection o Often referred to as “physical” crime prevention o “target hardening” or “target removal” - While social crime prevention is premised on an understanding that crime is the product of complex social, economic and cultural processes, situational crime prevention presupposes that crime is opportunistic and can be controlled through the modification of the physical environment - The following typology combines a focus on the target audience with a specification of the processes to be affected by the measure, and hence some understanding of the causes of crime o Social (primary) : education and socialisation, public awareness and advertising campaigns, neighbourhood watch o Social (secondary): work with those ‘at risk’ of offending: youths, the unemployed, community regeneration o Social (tertiary): rehabilitation, confronting offending behaviour, aftercare, diversion reparation o Situational (primary): target-hardening, surveillance, opportunity reduction/removal, environmental design, general deterrence o Situational (secondary): target-hardening and design measures for ‘at risk’ groups, risk predication and assessment, deterrence o Situational (tertiary): individual deterrence, incapacitation, assessment of dangerousness and risk Proximal and Distal Mechanisms - A different definition of crime prevention is given as the intervention in mechanisms that cause criminal events o Here, mechanisms are always causal, in that they are linked in chains of cause and effect o Any process or condition which by its presence, absence, or particular state affects the probability of a criminal event occurring o Intervention refers to action prior to the criminal event that interrupts a chain of cause and effect which would otherwise have ultimately led to an event - Definition is useful because it requires us to explain both why criminal events occur and why certain interventions are believed to prevent criminal events from occurring - Causal mechanisms can be either proximal or distal o Distinction between the two lies in the proximity or distance at which a mechanism seeks to interrupt the chain of causation o Proximal mechanisms are directly linked to the event in question, and generally close in time and space o Distal mechanisms are more remote and the causal chain is longer - This schema is useful because it suggests the need to unpack the various layers of causation which occur at different times and in different proximity to criminal events - However, this system suffers from “events orientation”, which assumes crimes are discrete incidents which can be isolated, measured and controlled at an individual level, as solitary events. However, this blinds us from the social, relational and cultural aspects of crime - We need to understand crime as the product of relationships rather than individual incidents - The political nature of his choices as to where, when, against whom and in what ways to intervene, as well as with what implications, is absent from his schema Political Models of Crime Prevention - Iadicola identifies three models of crime prevention aimed at communities and neighbourhoods, each emphasizing a commitment to different political ideologies: o 1) conservative model: focused on victimisation deterrence, through opportunity reduction, protection and surveillance. Conservative because its founding principles are concerned with the control of crime control and adheres to narrow definition of conventional crime. Assumes that crime is ultimately connected to choice within a framework of incentives and disincentives. Social policies are either keeping them out of certain areas or through incarceration. Tends to compliment punitive policies o 2) liberal model: sees crime as a social problem. Crime evidences itself in pathological behaviour which requires correcting, which may lie in a lack of opportunities, a mismatch between cultural goals and institutional means of achieving them. Aim of crime prevention in this model is to identify risk factors and to work to correct them. Focuses on the allocation of resources and institutional reform targeted at those individuals who are exposed to, or express, single or multiple risk factors o 3) radical model: crime prevention concerned with community control and social change. Crime and disorder seen as arenas of political struggle, whereby crime is the product of social divisions and inequalities. These are structural features of the society in which we live which produce themselves around social divisions of class, gender and ethnicity. Shifts attention to economic inequalities. Should center on crimes of the powerful. Aim is the reduction of power differences and inequalities coupled with community empowerment. - This schema fails to identify connections between, and inconsistencies within, political programmes - Danger is that in highlighting the politics of crime prevention as his starting point, iadicola confuses and simplifies the alliances and connections between political programmes and specific crime prevention strategies Victim-Oriented Prevention - One of the central aspects of the revival of interest in crime prevention has been the identification of potential victims as the targets of preventive attention - General public is the focus of primary victim-oriented prevention - Secondary victim-oriented prevention focuses on those at particular risk of certain types of victimization - Tertiary victim-oriented prevention targets those who have already been the victims of a particular crime o Such activities such as general assistance in legal, emotional or financial ways seek to minimize the harm done by a crime, regardless of its impact on the chances or impact of any future revictimization Repeat Victimisation - A relatively small proportion of the population experiences a disproportionate amount of crime - Extent of repeat victimisation has been underestimated, due in part to a statistical bias when interpreting crime rates which has prioritised a focus on the incidence of victimisation - This results in a quantitative moral bias, whereby public discussion about the crime rate is premised on the axiom that more crime always reflects a social evil, while less crime is indicative of greater social well-being - Crime tends to be concentrated both socially and spatially, it is not evenly distributed throughout the population - If victimisation is a reasonable predictor of future repeat victimisation, it will help to shift the supply of resources closer to demand - Targeting victims of crime for tertiary preventative assistance carries benefits: o 1) likely to be attractive to victims who feel let down by justice system o 2) removes difficult and divisive choices about who should be targets of prevention o 3) allows providers of crime prevention a realistic pace to which to respond Identifying the Actors - Cohen and Felson suggest that crime is patterned by the convergence of people and things over space and time (routine activities theory) - Three key variables, the absence or presence of impacting likelihood of crime: o Presence of likely offenders o Presence of suitable targets o Absence of capable guardians against crime or existence of inadequate surveillance - Assumes opportunistic understanding of crime in which potential offenders are amoral calculators of profit and loss, leaving no space for wider social factors The New Culture of Crime Control The Crime Control Apparatus - Between 1970 and the present, criminal justice systems in both countries have massively expanded in terms of caseloads, employment, and overall expenditure, and the last two decades the biggest prison building programme has occurred - Reversal of a long-term tendency for custodial sentences to decline as a proportion of all sentences in favour of fines and community supervision - Since 1980s, in USA and UK, sentences have increased in length, average time served, and custodial sentences have been used in a larger proportion of cases, and likelihood of being returned to custody from parole has increased - Shift towards a much greater use of custody - These shifts of penal emphasis have had effects on the number of people in custody, size of prison industry, the racial composition of the prison population, and on the political and cultural significance of punishment - Problem-oriented policing, community policing, order-maintenance poling, quality-of-life policing redefine how police forces are deployed and how they interact with public - Policing has become more targeted, more attuned to local circumstance, more responsive to public pressure, and more willing to work with community - As a legal and organizational entity, the public police look much the same today as they did 30 years ago - Recognition of victims’ rights; introduction of victim impact statements; growth of victim support groups; and routine referral of victims to organizations from police have changed the relative status and worth of the various parties involved - Currently, restorative justice initiatives play only a tiny role at the shallow end of the system, and are more notable for reforming enthusiasm than the frequency of their use and impact upon criminal justice - Most of the distinctive technologies, powers and knowledge developed by the penal-welfare movement are still in daily use - 1990s saw an increase in the numbers of treatment programmes provided to offenders in the community and in the prisons o Treatment prospects and risk factors still identified, judicial power to punish continues to be overlaid with psycho-social framework of diagnosis and remedy The Third Sector: Policing, Penalty – and Prevention - Alongside policing and penalty there has grown up a third ‘governmental’ sector – the new apparatus of prevention and security o Made of crime prevention organizations, public-private partnerships, community policing arrangements and multi-agency working practices that link together different authorities whose activities bear upon the problems of crime and security o This sector has more of a fragile, virtual existence o Consists mainly of networks and co-ordinating practices whose primary task is to link up the activities of existing actors and agencies and direct their efforts towards crime reduction o New sector occupies a borderline position between the state and the civil society, connecting the criminal justice agencies with the activities of citizens, communities and corporations o Extends the field of “formal” crime control and its potential for organized action o Key consequence is that the formal boundaries of the crime control field are no longer marked out by the institutions of the criminal justice state  Allows crime control practices to be organized and directed at a distance from the state agencies o Crime control becomes responsibility not just of criminal justice specialists but of a whole series of social and economic factors o Its very existence exerts a small but insistent pressure that tends to push policy away from retribution, deterrence, and reform and towards a concern with prevention, harm- reduction, and risk management
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