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Social control = mechanisms to ensure conformity (MTEC).

Below are 3 STRATEGIES societies h...
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Crime Prevention and Control - 3 Different Approaches


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Crime Prevention and Control - 3 Different Approaches

  1. 1. CRIME PREVENTION and control Social control = mechanisms to ensure conformity (MTEC). Below are 3 STRATEGIES societies have used to try to ensure that people conform. STRATEGY TO ENSURE CONFORMITY KEY IDEAS, KEY STUDIES, KEY THINKERS… Aim to manage or alter the immediate environment of crime and to increase the effort and risks of 1 SITUATIONAL CRIME committing the crime thus reducing the rewards. PREVENTION Examples: target hardening measures like locking doors and windows Ron Clarke (1992) defines it as Increased surveillance in shops via CCTV and security guards increase the chances of shoplifters being caught. Theory underlying situational crime prevention is rational choice theory – view that criminals weigh up ‘a pre-emptive approach that potential costs and benefits before deciding to commit a crime. This contrasts with theories which explain relies, not on improving crime through faulty socialisation or capitalist exploitation. The solutions, revolution or radically better society or its institutions, but socialization, are to Clarke unrealistic and he argues for a focus on the immediate crime situation where simply reducing opportunities scope for prevention is greatest. Most crime is opportunistic, therefore reduce the opportunities. for crime’. 2 ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME PREVENTION Based on Wilson & Kelling’s ‘broken windows’ thesis (described as ‘perhaps the most influential single article on crime prevention ever written’) 3 SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY CRIME PREVENTION Place the emphasis firmly on the potential offenders. Aim is to remove the conditions that push individuals into crime in the first place. Example: Felson (1998) – The Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York was poorly designed and provided opportunities for deviancy. The toilets were a setting for luggage thefts, rough sleeping and drug dealing. Reshaping the physical environment helped to design out crime, for example by replacing large sinks in which vagrants were bathing by small hand basins. ‘Broken windows’ signifies the various signs of disorder and lack of concern for others found in some areas – noise, graffiti, begging, littering, vandalism….Argument is that leaving windows broken sends out the wrong message i.e. that non-cares. In such areas there is lack of both formal social control (police) and informal social control (the community). Police turn a blind eye to nuisance behavior and respectable people feel intimidated and powerless. Without remedial action the situation deteriorates tipping neighborhood into spiral of decline. Good people move out, bad people move in. Solution is to crack down on any disorder with a twin strategy: a)Environmental Improvement strategy – repair any broken windows immediately, scrub graffiti, tow away burned cars… b)Zero Tolerance Policing – police proactively tackle the slightest sign of disorder to prevent serious crime taking root. Place the emphasis firmly on the potential offenders. Aim is to remove the conditions that push individuals into crime in the first place. These are longer term strategies aimed at tackling the root causes of offending, rather than simply removing opportunities for crime. Because the causes of crime are often rooted in social conditions such as poverty, unemployment and poor housing more general social reform programmes addressing these issues may have a crime prevention role, even if this is not their main focus. For example policies to promote full employment are likely to reduce crime as a ‘side effect’. The Perry pre-school project A community programme for disadvantaged black children in Michigan aimed at reducing criminality. An experimental group of 3-4 year olds was offered a 2 year intellectual enrichment programme with home visits included. A longitudinal study followed the children’s subsequent progress. Striking differences were noted between a control group who had not undergone the programme. By age 40 they had significantly fewer lifetime arrests for violent crime, property crime and drugs. More had graduated from high school and were in employment. It was calculated that for every dollar spent on the programme $17 were saved on welfare, prison and other costs. OVERALL EVALUATION – WHAT IS MISSING? They all take for granted the nature and definition of crime – they focus on a narrow range of harms (typically violent crime, burglary, car crime, anti-social behaviour....) This ignores the crimes of the powerful and green crimes The definition of the crime problem reflected in the 3 strategies reflects the priorities and agencies asked to prevent crime. EVALUATION 1 Displacement – if criminals are acting rationally will simply move to softer targets. Chaiken et a(1974) found crackdown on subway robberies in New York just displaced them to streets above. Counter evaluation: changing from toxic coal gas to less toxic natural gas reduced the suicide rate in Britain, in this case displacement did NOT occur. 2 Overemphasis on opportunistic petty street crime. Ignores white collar, corporate, green and state crime which are more costly and harmful. 3 Assumes criminals make rational calculations which seems unlikely in the case of violence and crimes committed when drunk or drugged up. 4 Ignores root causes of crime like poverty 5 CCTV surveillance tends to target young males and for feminists CCTV is an extension of the ‘male gaze’. The Evidence Great success has been claimed for zero tolerance policing in New York. The ‘Clean Car Program’ subway which meant that subway trains were removed if they had any graffiti on them virtually eradicated graffiti. Other programs tackled fare dodging, drug dealing and begging and squeegee merchants. 1993-1996 crime fell significantly in New York, for example murders fell by 50%. However there might have been other factors which contributed to the falling crime rate like 7000 more police officers, jobs creation, crack cocaine was scarce, improved medical emergency services which prevented some deaths which would otherwise have become murders. 1 Seeks to tackle the deep-seated root causes of crime unlike situational and environmental crime prevention strategies. 2 One time (1962-67+), one place (Michigan), small sample size (123), one ethnic group (Black Americans), one class (working/lower class). Therefore may well not be representative 2 Overemphasis on those who will potentially commit stereotypical visible ‘street’ crimes. Does nothing to tackle white collar, corporate crime, green crime and state crime which are arguably far more costly and harmful to human beings. Whyte (2005) conducted a survey of 26 crime and disorder partnerships in NW England. What they are interested in targeting What they had no interest in targeting Car crime Burglary Drug Crime Violent Crime Waste offences Water quality offences Anti-social behaviour Robbery Fear of Crime Speeding cars Firms releasing cancer causing chemicals into the air Whyte concluded that in terms of detrimental impact on the health of communities the ‘crimes’ in the right hand column are just as harmful as the ones on the left – however they are NOT considered to be part of crime and disorder partnerships.