Approaches to Crime Prevention

Crime prevention techniques are implemented by individuals, communities, businesses, and governmental agencies to tackle social and environmental factors that may inhibit the level and types of crime. In this paper I am going to take a close look at some of the more dominant approaches that are being used in criminal justice fields such as law enforcement, courts, and in our correctional facilities. Criminal justice agencies are utilizing the following approaches as they define and redefine crime prevention methods: situational, social development, community crime prevention, and private policing.
Situational crime prevention has received much controversy and is more of a theoretical approach. This approach weighs in many concerns as it differs from more traditional crime preventions techniques. Situational crime prevention focuses on “the immediate circumstances under which crime is performed.” (Wortley, 2010) Situational theorists work directly with policing agencies as a more direct approach to prevent crime. Where as other theories tend to integrate social reform and criminal rehabilitation in some way to deter crime. Critiques believe that situational crime prevention is lacking in understanding why crime occurs. “Situational crime prevention in turn relies on mindless target-hardening and is a simplistic response to a complex social problem.” (Wortley, 2010) The strategy ignores the underlying causes that contribute to crime such as poverty, poor parenting, single parent homes, and inequality. It does not address the issue nor does it correct the offender’s behaviors. Situational simply displaces the crime, forcing the offender to take his unlawful actions and behaviors somewhere else.
Hirschi’s social control theory connects delinquency to the individual’s connections in society. It stand’s out on its own because it questions what fuels the delinquent behavior not why one indulges in delinquent behavior. Hirschi’s theory supports the claim that individuals with strong societal bonds are more likely to carry out behavior that is accepted by the rules of their society, where as individuals that have broken connections are more likely to stray for what is deemed normal in the community they live in and act out unlawfully. Social control theory believes that everyone should have a connection in society and belong to something that promotes strong ethical and morally accepted behaviors. This type of crime prevention involves our youth in extracurricular activities, parental attachment, and stable environments both community and school. According to Hirschi’s study, “understanding the differing impact of various social control mechanisms for young men and women is critical for designing effective risk reduction programming, particularly in the school setting.” (Sage, 2008)
Community policing is a technique that is very effective in preventing crime. This strategy involves the members of the community and local policing agencies to focus on issues within that are contributing to the crime and other unlawful behaviors. I believe this to be one of the more effective crime prevention techniques that are implemented. Citizens of the community are key to identifying problems, strange persons or vehicles, and questionable activity in which they live. They work together with the police agency and the officers to prevent all criminal behavior. The communication between citizens and police officers is imperative for the success of this program. Communities set up neighborhood watch programs and are proven effective in deterring crime within their boundaries.
Private policing is becoming more and more popular. This type of crime prevention functions outside of governmental agencies, such as mall security, private security firms, and security guards. This type of crime prevention focuses more on crimes like shoplifting and theft. They have jurisdiction only at the location that they work for. Private security firms such as METRO acts as a first call for communities that have hired them for non emergency calls such as noise complaints. This type of policing is restricted and is somewhat effective, but is very limited in what the private police can offer for crime prevention.
The most effective technique involves the community and the police agency and gives each party the ability to contribute. I do believe that whowe spend our time with does effect how we act, and I think it is important to deter our young from crime by getting them involved with activities that connect them to the community. I think if we used the social and community crime prevention strategies together we would have a good chance of reducing crime in our neighborhoods. It is important for all of us to take responsibility and not leave it up to just the policing agencies. Police officers can not be at every corner of the neighborhood waiting for something suspicious to occur. We must pull together as a community and rebuild safer neighborhoods as a unit.
Wortley, R.(2010). Situational crime prevention, critiques of. InEncyclopedia of victimology and crime prevention. Retrieved from

Morgan, Anthony and Homel, Peter. Evaluating crime prevention: Lessons from large-scale community crime prevention programs [online]. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, No. 458, Jul 2013: 1-12. Availability:<;dn=432846478342862;res=IELHSS>EISSN: 1836-2206. [cited 11 Jun 14]

Booth, J., Farrell, A., & Varano, S. (2008, June 9). Social Control, Serious Delinquency, and Risky Behavior: A gendered analysis. . Retrieved June 8, 2014, from

Triplett, R. A., & Gainey, R. (n.d.). Understanding Neighborhoods and Crime.Understanding Neighborhoods and Crime. Retrieved June 10, 2014, from

Reynolds, D. C. (n.d.). Private Policing. Private Policing. Retrieved June 9, 2014, from


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