June 30, 2014
The concept of situational crime started to gain recognition in the late 1940s when Edwin Sutherland (1947) argued that crime was either “historical” – influenced by previous personal history, or
“situational” – the environmental factors encompassing the crime scene. Although acknowledged by the majority of criminologists, the concept of “situation” was not their primary focus and remained ignored up until the 1970s when it regained interest. Michael
Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, for instance, asserted that although criminality is a necessary condition, it alone is not sufficient for a crime to be committed: crime requires situational incentives found in the form of motivation and opportunity (Hirschi & Gottfredson,
1986). Among the most important contributors to the theory, however, is Ronald Clarke. In 1983, he thoroughly defined the core of the theory and focused entirely his new approach on the event of the crime – the immediate physical and social settings, as well as wider societal arrangements –, instead of the perpetrator.
Crime prevention, or the intervention to prevent a crime from occurring, can be achieved in two ways: by changing the offender’s disposition or by reducing his or her opportunities. The focus of the situational crime prevention is correspondingly based on the belief that crime can be reduced effectively by altering situations rather than an offender’s personal dispositions. Back in 1983, Ronald Clarke primarily divided crime prevention approaches into three categories of measures: degree of surveillance, target hardening measures, and environmental management (Clarke, 1983:223). Preventive strategies were likely to exhibit two or more characteristics of several of these approaches. In 1992, he published a core list of twelve techniques aimed at reducing a variety of offenses. Yet, as he conducted more research with the help of Ross Homel, the list grew from twelve to sixteen techniques with the addition of the removing excuses category which applied the theory to a broader range of crime such as tax evasion and traffic offenses committed by common people as much as hardened offenders (Clarke & Homel, 1997).
Methods in the
Get to know the people, they are your first line of defense.
Know your surroundings, alley’s, pathways, street names, abandoned buildings, vacant lots and playgrounds/parks.
Be watchful of suspicious vehicles, flashy cars, flashy people and people who just simply look out of place, especially during seasonal changes. Make sure people know who you are, pass out cards, have a separate phone for
“neighborhood” calls only, something inexpensive like a
Be visible to the public, park your car where it can be readily seen, but you do not have to be in it, make people look for you before they commit any crime on your watch.
Increase the Efforts of the Crime.
Efforts taken to increase the effort are the most basic ones.
They start with targethardening, which is accomplished using physical barriers such as locks, antirobbery screens, and tamperproof packaging. A more controlled access to facilities in which people can sometimes too easily enter when they should not, through electronic access regulations, baggage and body screenings, and use of entry phones would increase the effort. Regulating the entrance is helpful, but screening exits should also be monitored, to decrease shoplifting for instance – it can be done with the use of electronic merchandise tags.
Increase the risk of the Crime
are generally more concerned about the risks of getting caught rather than about the consequences, because once the person is apprehended, consequences are inevitable and the person can thus not prevent them; the focus is thus put on preventing getting caught. It leads them to be more careful, yet an increase of