is the attempt to reduce victimization and to deter crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...
and criminals. It is applied specifically to efforts made by government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...
s to reduce crime, enforce the law, and maintain criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...
Criminologists such as Gottfredson, McKenzie, Eck, Farrington, Sherman, Waller and others have been at the forefront of analyzing what works to prevent crime. Prestigious commissions and research bodies, such as the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...
, United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...
, the United States National Research Council
The National Research Council of the USA is the working arm of the United States National Academies, carrying out most of the studies done in their names.The National Academies include:* National Academy of Sciences...
, the UK Audit Commission
The Audit Commission is a public corporation in the United Kingdom.The Commission’s primary objective is to improve economy, efficiency and effectiveness in local government, housing and the health service, directly through the audit and inspection process and also through value for money...
and so on, have analyzed their and others' research on what lowers rates of interpersonal crime.
They agree that governments must go beyond law enforcement and criminal justice to tackle the risk factors that cause crime because it is more cost effective and leads to greater social benefits than the standard ways of responding to crime. Interestingly, multiple opinion poll
An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a poll is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence...
s also confirm public support for investment in prevention. Waller uses these materials in Less Law, More Order
to propose specific measures to reduce crime as well as a crime bill
A bill is a proposed law under consideration by a legislature. A bill does not become law until it is passed by the legislature and, in most cases, approved by the executive. Once a bill has been enacted into law, it is called an act or a statute....
Some of the highlights of these authorities are set out below with some sources for further reading. The World Health Organization Guide
(2004) complements the World Report on Violence and Health
(2002) and the 2003 World Health Assembly Resolution
56-24 for governments to implement nine recommendations, which were:
- Create, implement and monitor a national action plan for violence prevention.
- Enhance capacity for collecting data on violence.
- Define priorities for, and support research on, the causes, consequences, costs and prevention of violence.
- Promote primary prevention responses.
- Strengthen responses for victims of violence.
- Integrate violence prevention into social and educational policies, and thereby promote gender
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...
and social equality
Social equality is a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the...
- Increase collaboration and exchange of information on violence prevention.
- Promote and monitor adherence to international treaties, laws and other mechanisms to protect human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...
- Seek practical, internationally agreed responses to the global drugs and global arms trade.
The authoritative commissions agree on the Role of Municipalities, because they are best able to organize the strategies to tackle the risk factors that cause crime. The European Forum for Urban Safety and the United States Conference of Mayors have stressed that municipalities must target the programs to meet the needs of youth at risk and women who are vulnerable to violence.
To succeed, they need to establish a coalition
A coalition is a pact or treaty among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause. This alliance may be temporary or a matter of convenience. A coalition thus differs from a more formal covenant...
of key agencies such as schools, job creation, social services, housing and law enforcement around a diagnosis.
Elements Necessary for a Crime to Occur
- Desire or motivation on the part of the criminal
- The skills and tools needed to commit the crime
Primary prevention address individual and family level factors correlated with later criminal participation. Individual level factors such as attachment to school and involvement in pro-social activities decrease the probability of criminal involvement.
Family level factors such as consistent parenting skills similarly reduce individual level risk. Risk factors are additive in nature. The greater the number of risk factors present the greater the risk of criminal involvement. In addition there are initiatives which seek to alter rates of crime at the community or aggregate level.
For example, Larry Sherman from the University of Maryland in Policing Domestic Violence (1993) demonstrated that changing the policy of police response to domestic violence calls altered the probability of subsequent violence. Policing hot spots, areas of known criminal activity, decreases the number of criminal events reported to the police in those areas. Other initiatives include community policing efforts to capture known criminals. Organizations such as America's Most Wanted and Crime Stoppers these help catch the criminals.
Secondary prevention uses techniques focusing on at risk situations such as youth who are dropping out of school or getting involved in gang
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current usage it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation. In early usage, the word gang referred to a group of workmen...
s. It targets social programs and law enforcement at neighborhoods where crime rates are high. The use of secondary crime prevention in cities such as Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...
Bogotá, Distrito Capital , from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district...
have achieved large reductions in crime and violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...
. Programs that are focused on youth at risk have been shown to significantly reduce crime.
Tertiary prevention is used after a crime has occurred in order to prevent successive incidents. Such measures can be seen in the implementation of new security policies following acts of terrorism such the September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...
Situational crime prevention uses techniques focusing on reducing on the opportunity to commit a crime. Some of techniques include increasing the difficulty of crime, increasing the risk of crime, and reducing the rewards of crime.