Examine the effectiveness of crime reduction strategies in reducing crime
There are three types of crime prevention; situational crime prevention, environmental crime prevention and social and community crime prevention, each of which has both strengths and weaknesses.
Situational crime prevention takes a preventative approach toward crime by focussing on methods to reduce the opportunities for crime, so it tries to stop the means for crime from occurring in the first place. There are three main features of this; they are directed at specific crimes, they try to manage or alter the immediate environment of the crime and they aim at increasing the effort and risks of committing crime and therefore reducing the rewards. For example, making it harder to commit crimes by ‘target hardening’ involving things such as locking doors and windows which increases the effort needed for a burglar. This theory is a rational choice theory of crime, this is the idea that criminals in fact act rationally and ‘weigh up’ the benefits and risks of a crime opportunity before actually committing it. An example of a situational crime prevention strategy was shown through The Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, it was badly designed and provided plenty of opportunities for people to commit crime, e.g. the toilets were a setting for rough sleeping, theft and drug dealing. By re-shaping the environment to ‘design crime out’ they managed to greatly reduce such activity.
However this theory works to an extent in reducing some kinds of crime, however most of the time these strategies merely displace the crime and just cause the crimes to move somewhere else, be committed at a different time or by using a different method so in fact they aren’t really reducing the crime at all, they are just moving it. This theory also ignores the root causes of crime such as poor socialisation and poverty which makes it hard to develop long term fixes for crime reduction.
Environmental crime prevention focuses on an idea of a ‘broken windows’ effect. This term is used to describe the disorder and lack of care in certain neighbourhoods, including things such as graffiti, begging and vandalism. It therefore argues that by leaving a window broken and in a state of disrepair and tolerating such behaviour