Article

Situational Crime Prevention

Martha J. Smith

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online April 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0040
Situational Crime Prevention

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Situational crime prevention (SCP) seeks to reduce the number of crime events by focusing on limiting the opportunities for crime to occur. The approach typically uses an action-research model and assumes that offenders make decisions that are broadly rational. It is generally designed so that individual offenders do not have to be identified for the measures to be successful. It draws theoretical support from a number of frameworks that developed independently in the 1970s and 1980s, but which share a focus on the importance of analyzing either crime events themselves or the environments in which these events take place. Measures for blocking crime opportunities are classified according to how they tend to affect potential offenders. Currently, twenty-five categories of techniques have been identified, encompassing five main means by which they operate—increasing effort, increasing risk, reducing reward, reducing provocation, and removing excuses. While SCP can be carried out by anyone, the focus has been on developing measures that can be implemented widely by policing and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies, businesses and manufacturers, and others who control activities in particular environments such as public transport systems. Evaluations of measures have often been designed to look for both crime displacement and diffusion of benefits. Because the approach does not seek to change the long-term motivation of particular offenders, the possibility exists that crime will be displaced to other potential victims or targets, places, times, or types of crime, or that other methods will be used. Likewise, the measures may extend their benefits to nontargeted victims, places, times, methods, or crimes. SCP has been criticized on ethical and political grounds, in terms of its efficacy and the quality of its methodology, and as a move away from policies that have the achievement of social justice as a core goal.

Article.  10296 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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