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Contemporary crime reduction strategies[1]stu

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  • 1. 1 Contemporary Crime Reduction Strategies Crime and Deviance A2 Sociology
  • 2. 2 In pairs Discuss and then write down a selection of crime reduction strategies which have been introduced since the introduction of New Labour in 1997. Example: electronic tagging
  • 3. 3 Introduction Within this session we will explore a variety of contemporary crime reduction strategies which include: • A brief exploration of social crime prevention • Community crime reduction (Neighbourhood Watch) • The physical environment • Situational crime prevention • The development of CCTV • Zero-tolerance policing
  • 4. 4 Social crime prevention Social crime prevention focuses on changing the motivations of offenders through changing their social environments. This approach aims to develop activities which deter potential or actual offenders from offending in the future. To simply ‘keep them off the street’. Common activities include: • Pre school and after school clubs provided by schools • Youth clubs • Sport clubs e.g. football, rugby, boxing etc. • Activity camps over holiday periods
  • 5. 5 Community crime reduction This approach focuses on developing a strong sense of community to eradicate the fear of crime and to reduce actual crime. De Tocheville (1994) claims there are three key issues which are key features in developing a sense of community and spirit. • Tolerance, with this in place interaction and respect will develop, and people will begin to listen and learn from others. • Reciprocity “as doing a favour for someone else without expecting anything in return immediate, confident that down the line someone will pay you back.” • Rational collective decisions, which have been carefully thought through.
  • 6. 6 Community crime reduction A selection of different approaches have been suggested by a wide range of sociologists, some of which are provided in the following list: • To develop social networks (Stacey 1969) • To develop a sense of inclusion (Cohen 1985) • Natural surveillence, interaction, and communication (Jacob 1961) • To develop a sense of belonging and to value public space • “Active streets are safe streets” (Hillier 1990) • A positive environment will generate positive mood – removing the fear of crime and violence (Newman 1979) • Natural surveillance is considered equally important to the likes of CCTV technology. It has shown to reduce both the fear of crime and crime levels (PSCG 1999)
  • 7. 7 Neighbourhood Watch Neighbourhood Watch is a community strategy which has been found to reduce crime, the fear of crime and opportunities to commit crime (The National Neighbourhood Watch Association 2003). Neighbourhood Watch is supported by the government and works in partnership with other agencies such as Victim Support and Help the Aged. Neighbourhood Watch emerged in Britain after success in America. By the late 1980’s there were around 153,000 Neighbourhood Watch Schemes in England which covered over ten million people. Neighbourhood Watch schemes have been found to: • Promote a community spirit • Promote natural surveillance – to become the eyes and ears of the police • To reduce the fear of crime • To reduce levels of crime
  • 8. 8 Community crime reduction Considerations: • When a sense of community has been lost it you need to ask the question will it ever come back? (Jones 1961) • One particular area which fails to achieve a sense of community are areas of predominant student residence e.g. Fallowfield, Manchester. High levels of crime are often found in these areas and this has been down to the lack of interaction between residents (Coleman 1990). • Some groups e.g. farmers are often excluded from communities because of their distances from them. • Is allowing the community to do the policing a good thing? • The process of developing a sense of community can take a very long time. Success will not be immediate • Community crime reduction has been described as ‘fantasy land’ crime prevention • The approach has been found to reduce the fear of crime but there is still deep divisions about how effective community approaches are in reducing actual levels of crime.
  • 9. 9 Community crime reduction Considerations (continued): • Community strategies assume that criminals come from outside the community and not from within it. The possibility that the residents who you are trusting to be your ‘eyes and ears’ are actually the criminal is ignored. • Neighbourhood Watch schemes have found success in crime prevention. However these successes have only been found in middle-class communities and not from within working-class communities (Hope 1995) • Laycock & Tilley (2002) argue that this is because many middle-class communities have a high fear of crime. This in combination with the fact that middle-class communities suffer from a lower level of crime than the rest of society creates a situation where success in crime reduction is more likely.
  • 10. 10 Physical environment The physical environment and the features within it have also been argued to reduce both the fear of crime and contribute towards crime reduction. The environment should be effectively laid out. The streets, footpaths, and cycles should all be designed effectively to encourage people to use the facilities, without fear, and this will present a more pleasurable and safe experience for the public. • To provide good visibility (to be well lit) • To be near residential areas (to encourage natural surveillance) • To be free of blind spots • Routes should be well connected, inclusive, and accessible (Newman 1972). Poorly utilised pathways can lead to the opportunity of crime. Too many routes diminish the sense of place leaving it to be isolated and abandoned (Northampton County Council & Kettering County Council 2002).
  • 11. 11 Physical environment Consideration: Much of the effort to alter the structure of communities in order to reduce crime has not been successful or sustainable (Hope 1995). It is takes a long time to implement, it is expensive, making it unpopular with government, because it offers not short term ‘fixes’.
  • 12. 12 Situational crime prevention Situational crime prevention focuses on target hardening and target removal of objects making it more difficult for the offender to commit criminal offences. Target removal – to remove objects which are the target of criminal activity. Example: To ensure employees wages are sent into bank accounts, eliminating the risk of robbery of payroll or of employees who would have otherwise been paid in cash. Target hardening – to make crimes more difficult to commit – physical security measures such as burglar alarms, car locks, and property marking. None of these methods completely reduce the risks but make the crime more complex and/or lengthy to commit – increasing the possibility of the offender being caught or giving up on the crime.
  • 13. 13 Situational crime prevention Ron Clark developed an array of different situational crime prevention techniques. He placed his techniques into 3 different clusters. They are as follows: 1) Increasing the effort Target hardening (steering locks in cars, bandit screens in banks) Access control (ID badges) 2) Increasing the risks of detection Entry/exit screening (baggage screening in airports, automatic ticket gates, formal surveillance (security guards, speed cameras) Surveillance by employees (park attendant, CCTV systems) Natural surveillance (street lighting, neighbourhood watch schemes) 3) Reducing the reward Target removal (removal of car hi-fis when car not occupied, phone cards, identifying property, property marking, vehicle licensing) Removing inducements (graffiti cleaning, bum proof benches (Newman) “crime prevention is often possible and sometimes easy” Pease (1994)
  • 14. 14 Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) CCTV has been credited for an enormous amount of crime prevention. The technology became widespread in the 1990s in response to the growth of situational crime prevention Perhaps the best example of the success of CCTV cameras was in 1975 when they were installed in the London Underground for the first time. Over a period of 12 months following the installation of the cameras a reduction of thefts by a total of 27 per cent were recorded. Criticisms of CCTV: • Eye in the sky – you are always being watched • People need to man all of the CCTV cameras • Although CCTV may serve as a deterrent. It may result in offenders deciding to commit a crime elsewhere where there is no CCTV and this could potentially result in the offender committing a more serious crime.
  • 15. 15 Zero-tolerance policing The idea of zero-tolerance policing was first coined in the 1980s The approach aims to address petty offenders who are viewed to have not respect for their community. The approach was aimed at minor offences It was viewed that control within the community would return if petty offenders were punished for minor offences before they progress onto more serious crime. The biggest success story of zero-tolerance policing was in New York in the late 1990s. The major at the time Rudy Giuliani (pictured) implemented the policing strategy and saw an immediate reduction in levels of crime. Police focused on small geographic regions, and took strict immediate action on all crimes. The aim was to nip criminal activity in the bud. Within Britain the only notable success of zero- tolerance policing was in Middlesborough under the authority of Superintendent Ray Mallon.
  • 16. 16 Zero-tolerance policing New Labour and Zero-tolerance policing The Crime and Disorder Act (1998) saw the introduction of anti-social behaviour orders and child curfews. These introductions were associated with zero-tolerance policing. Tony Blair proposed the introduction of order maintainence orders into 25 crime hotspots in Britain e.g. Moss Side, Manchester. Problem: The 25 areas had become labelled crime hotspots. Labelling areas could potentially make the situation worse.
  • 17. 17 Zero-tolerance policing Problems with zero-tolerance policing • There is the risk of further damaging the relationship between the public and the police • The approach only offers short term results – the inevitable result is that offenders will move to other areas to commit crimes • The police may over react – this could result in the harassment of unpopular minorities e.g. juvenile youth, immigrants • Police may focus their efforts on social groups who do not comply with the police personality e.g. working class estates and ethnic minorities (especialy young, Afro-Caribbean, males) The Macpherson Report (1999) officially recognised the police force of England and Wales as being institutionally racist. The documentary ‘the Secret Policeman’ (October 2003) shown that even since the groundbreaking Macpherson report the situation has not changed.