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CRIM 3654 - NOVEMBER 15TH READINGS

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Department
Criminology
Course
CRIM 3654
Professor
James Sheptycki
Semester
Fall

Description
CRIM 3654 – FALL BOOK NOTES th Readings for November 15 Clarke: Situational Crime Prevention: Theoretical Background and Current Practice - Situational Crime Prevention – proceeding from an analysis of the settings giving rise to specific kinds of crime or disorder, it seeks to introduce discrete managerial and environmental changes that will reduce the opportunities or incentives for crime o It is focused on the settings in which crime occur, rather than on those committing criminal acts o Does not try to eliminate criminal tendencies by arresting and sanctioning offenders or by improving society or its institutions. Instead, it seeks to make crime less attractive and it operates, not through CJS, but through a host of public and private organizations and agencies – schools, hospitals, shops and malls, local parks, parking lots, etc – whose products, services, and operations spawn opportunities and incentives for different crimes - Felson describes main sources of these opportunities and incentives: o criminogenic products,  tools for crime: handguns, cordless drills  targets of crime: cars with weak door, credit cards with poor security, high- value, easily stolen goods (“hot products”) o poor management,  lack of staff on buses, unsupervised football crowds, overcrowded pubs, uncontrolled entry to public buildings o poorly designed buildings and places,  housing estates lacking defensible space, hidden alleyways behind houses, badly lit streets, isolated public restrooms o “leaky systems,” and  Lax gun controls, inadequate checking of insurance claims, poorly regulated public drinking o criminogenic laws  costly recycling regulations, new taxes on legal goods, strengthening of regulatory power of officials - Originally thought to be applicable only to “opportunistic” property offenses, but soon it was applied to assaults, robberies, drug dealing, prostitution, and now fraud and identity theft, child sexual abuse, organized crime, and terrorism Theoretical Background - Initially, program sought to identify characteristics of delinquents who were likely to be reconvicted after treatment and paid limited attention to the treatment process itself o Later, program sought to relate particular aspects of treatment both to chances of reconviction and to institutional misbehaviour o Main findings were as follows:  1) best predictors of reconviction were pre-treatment delinquency, family environment  2) various treatments differed little in their long term effectiveness in preventing reconviction  3) large differences in misbehaviour during treatment related to differences in institutional regimes and environments o Three findings interpreted that delinquency mainly due to response to current living situation, which provides opportunity or stimuli for offending o General unpredictability of delinquency due to changing environmental pressures - New method of lowering delinquency went from altering delinquent dispositions, to altering situations to reduce opportunities for delinquency and crime - Routine Acitivty theory is a macro theory, dealing with broad societal changes that lead to increase or decrease of specific kinds of crime opportunities - Crime Pattern Theory is a meso theory, operating at a city or neighbourhood level, dealing with ways offenders discover crime opportunities during daily life - Rational Choice Perspective as a micro theory, dealing with decisions offenders must make in committing crimes - Theories Supporting Situational Prevention and their common assumptions: o 1) Crime is the result of an Interaction between disposition and situation:  Some theories try to only explain why some people become delinquent or criminal – whether biological, psychological, or something else, these theories are dispositional because they are seeking to explain a general disposition or propensity to commit crime. But crime is an act, not merely a propensity, and it can only be explained in terms of interaction b/w disposition and situation that provides opportunity and sometimes the stimulus for crime to occur o 2) Offenders Choose to Commit Crime:  People choose to commit crimes because they believe this will bring them some benefit, which is not always financial. Whether they choose to commit crime depends on a rough calculation of the chances of obtaining the reward and risks of failure o 3) Opportunity is an important cause of crime:  Opportunity is an important cause of every form of crime, even a crime as important as homicide which is thought to be driven by strong motivation. Criminally disposed individuals will commit more crimes if they encounter more criminal opportunities – the more opportunities exist, the more crime will exist o 4) Situational Factors can Stimulate Crime: The Methodology of Situational Prevention - Five Principles Emphasized: o 1) Focus on very specific categories of crime or disorder o 2) Focus on crime concentrations o 3) Understand how the crime is committed o 4) Use an action-research model o 5) Consider a variety of solutions Focus on Very Specific Categories of Crime - Situational prevention shows greatest success when focused on highly specific forms of crime - This is because situational determinants of any specific category of crime are different from those of another one, and it may also be committed for different motives, by different offenders, with different resources and skills Focus on Crime Concentration - Opportunities for crime are already severely restricted by formal and informal security o E.g. lock our doors, counsel our children, buy houses in safe neighbourhoods, invest in burglar alrms - Most tempting opportunities are highly concentrated at particular places (hot spots), on particular people (repeat victims), on particular products (hot products), and at particular establishments, premises, and facilities (risky facilities) Understand How the Crime is Committed - A deep understanding of motivation is rarely needed to design effective situational measures o E.g. speeding in a residential street can be reduced by installing speed bumps without understanding why people speed there - More important is to understand how they are committed – it is enough to know that there are individuals with the motivation o It is important to adopt the offender’s perspective – “think thief” (putting oneself in the shoes of offenders and trying to think through in detail the decisions they must make to complete the crime) - Committing a crime is not simply a matter of snatching a bag, instead, it consists of a linked series of steps, each of which involves decisions by the offender - Understanding how a crime is committed helps in finding points of intervention to make the crime more difficult, risky, or less rewarding Use an Action-Research Model - Unlike CPTED, which tried to eliminate anticipated problems in new designs on the basis of past experience with similar designs, situational prevention seeks to eliminate existing problems - Problem-solving methodology is a form of “action research”, which consists of a series of steps: o Hypothesis about main determinants developed  range of solutions identified and assessed  chosen measures put in place  results evaluated - Leads itself more easily to cost-benefit studies Consider a Variety of Solutions - 25 opportunity-reducing techniques grouped under five main headings: o A) increase the effort – target harden (steering column locks), control access to facilities (entry phones), deflect offenders (separate bathrooms for women) o B) increase the risks – extend guardianship (go out in group at night), reduce anonymity (school uniforms), strengthen formal surveillance (red light cameras) o C) reduce the rewards – remove targets (removable car radio), deny benefits (clean graffiti) o D) remove excuses – set rules (harassment codes), post instructions (“no parking”) o E) reduce provocations -- reduce frustration (polite service), avoid disputes (fixed cab fares) - Potential solutions need to be carefully assessed for their cost benefits – assessment must include a variety of social and ethical costs, such as intrusiveness, unfairness, inconvenience and discrimination Common Ethical Criticisms Criticism: it diverts attention from the root causes of crime Reply: it benefits society by achieving immediate reductions in crime Displacement and Other Offender Reactions Displacement - Dispositional critics of situational prevention often assume that criminal motivation has the properties of a “drive” that must be expressed in criminal behaviour - For most crimes, rational choice theory offers the more realistic perspective that offenders will try to find some way of continuing to offend when they encounter blocked opportunities, but they will always evaluate the alternatives in terms of cost and benefits o Any instance of escalation is more costly for offenders. Some may be prepared to make more difficult rationalizations or run additional risks, but these will be a minority Diffusion of Benefits - Reductions in crime that can sometimes occur beyond the immediate focus of the situational measures introduced o Greatly enhances practical appeal of situational prevention - Example: when red light cameras were installed at some traffic lights, not only did fewer people run the lights, but also at other traffic lights nearby - Potential offenders often know that new prevention measures have been introduced, but they may be unsure of their precise scope - They may believe the measures are more widespread than they really are and that the effort needed to commit crime, or the risks incurred, has been increased for a wider range of places, times or target than, in fact, is the case Anticipatory Benefits - Offenders often believe that prevention measures have been brought into force before they actually have been Adaptation - Refers to the process through which offender populations discover new crime vulnerabilities after preventive measures have been in place for a while - Example: baggage and passenger screening measures in early 1970s. Together with an agreement between the countries to treat hijackers as criminals, quickly eliminating the hijackings. However, screening measures premised on assumption that hijackers were not intent on suicide and, in any case, authorities became less vigilant over time. This allowed 9/11 hijackers to find loopholes in the security and seize the airliners Conclusion - Situational prevention threatens to turn criminology from an academic discipline into a technical discourse more in tune with the police and the security industry - Less is known about longevity and the cost-effectiveness of its interventions - Little known about overall effect of reducing opportunities for crime through the combined application of situational prevention and tightened security Shearing and Stenning: From the Panopticon to Disney World: The Development of Discipline - Disney World claims to be a design for better living o Designed as an exemplar of modern private corporate policing o Discipline and control are in costume like many of the characters one sees - Directed specifically where to park and to remember exactly where one parked - Encouraged on the train to protect oneself from injury by staying within the bounds - When going towards monorail platform, directions are reinforced by physical barriers, with characters along the way conveying that DW is a fun place designed for comfort and pleasure - Once aboard monorail, one is told to remain seated and “for one’s own safety” to keep away from open windows - Reminded to take one’s possessions to take care of oneself - Opportunities for disorder are minimized by constant instruction, physical barriers which severely limit choice of action available and by surveillance of omnipresent employees who detect and rectify slightest deviation - Many areas of the Disney facility require the use of vehicles to access them, so these are considered barriers, as one is automatically secured once moving - Virtually every poo, fountain, and power garden serves as both an aesthetic object and to direct visitors away from, or towards particular locations - Every Disney employee, while primarily engaged in other functions, is also engaged in maintenance of order - The effect is to embed the control function into the “woodwork” where its presence is unnoticed but its effects are ever present - Critical consequence is that embedding control in other structures makes control consensual o The controlled become the source of their own control o Example: batching keeps families together providing family unity while at same time ensuring parents will be available to contrl their children - Disney World convincingly is presented as being in the interest of visitors, with order
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