Government schemes

In this is Critique I talk about crime prevention, how government schemes has helped in crime prevention and if this schemes has made any changing since the 1960's that crime prevention came into practice. I will be using chapter s 1 and 2 in Crime Prevention Policies in Comparative Perspective Crawford A. EDs 2009, also I have explained and giving a small summary of chapters 1 and 2 by Crawford

but first what do we understand by crime prevention, The idea of crime prevention involves the notion that it is better to stop crime occurring in the first place than simply punishing it after it has happened. The role of the criminal justice system is of course oriented to detecting and punishing crimes that have already taken place. But this fact itself has always been considered to have a preventative dimension. The high likelihood of detection by the police, and the deterrent effects of punishment have been seen as forms of crime prevention.

Chapters 1 and 2 summary Chapter1: Crawford outlines the challenges involved in the comparative crime prevention. Clearly language can hinder comparison, but this stems as much from variation in the adoption and application of terminology as from literal problems of translation. The current absence of suitable indicators on which to compare approaches, beyond the currently used dimensions of sentence severity and vague notations of punitively further hinders comparative analysis. For example neo-liberal states such as England and Wales have tended towards more punitive and exclusionary approaches influenced by rational choice perspectives including situational crime prevention.

Chapter 2 the political evolution of crime prevention in England and Wales, His analysis demonstrates how the principles of situational crime prevention and the timing of its emergence were well aligned to the Conservative ideologies of self interest and privatisation. Hope argues that the proliferation of schemes situational crime prevention and Secured by Design have contributed to the growth in the inequality of crime risk. However it should be noted that all new social housing built in the UK must meet Secured by Design standards, a standard not required of homes for private sale, therefore it can be the case that social housing within a new housing estate is provided with a better 'standard of security' than more expensive private homes within the same development. In contrast to the previous Conservative administration, New Labour favoured working with local partnerships but continue to govern from a distance.

The traditional criminal justice agencies have prevention as a sort of side effect or unintended consequence of their main aim of detection and punishment. And they are, as we have seen in previous lectures, not that efficient. Specific measures aimed at preventing crime have always been around in an everyday sense. Families, schools and communities disapprove of crime and this act as a form of informal social control People lock their doors and windows against burglars, and perhaps avoid badly lit areas, or certain parts of town, with the intention of reducing the likelihood of victimisation.

Social prevention was oriented to strengthening communities and restoring informal surveillance and social control of crime. This involved neighbourhoods taking a measure of responsibility for their security. The conservative government, from its standpoint of stressing individual responsibilities, tended to think of communities only as groups of individuals, such as residents and house owners concerned with the upkeep of their property1. The notion of community groups debating and participating in the implementation of crime prevention policy was certainly not a priority, also as the years passed and crime prevention activities expanded, it became increasingly obvious that a wide range of organisations were being drawn into the crime prevention world. Yet only the police had a statutory legal authority to deal with crime.

Obviously it was desirable that powers such as arrest be restricted to full warranted police officers but in the area of prevention it was seen as desirable that other agencies be given greater recognition of their role in crime prevention. The most obvious need was to give Local Authorities local councils, county councils etc. Already in 1984 the Home Office sent a circular to all local authorities instructing them to take some responsibility for crime prevention2.

"A primary objective of the police has always been the prevention of crime. However, since some of the factors affecting crime lie outside the control or direct influence of the police, crime prevention cannot be left to them alone. Every individual citizen and all those agencies whose policies and practices can influence the extent of crime should make their contribution. Preventing crime is a task for the whole community."

But this did not make citizens and local authorities legally responsible for crime control. Rather it urged them to take responsibility. In particular it urged police, local authorities, social services and community groups to develop inter-agency programmes for crime prevention. In practice of course, the police emerged as the most powerful agency in many of these collaborations. Using the concept of community safety rather than crime prevention was deliberate, in order to set the agenda in a positive way, emphasising people rather than property, and the roles of local authorities, community and tenants' groups rather than the police. The concept recognises that improving the physical security of individual houses and estates, while useful, will not be necessarily to improve people's safety or sense of security in their own homes and neighbourhoods. A sense of safety is related to the relations among the people who live in the neighbourhood, and to their fears about crime as well as to their personal experience of crime.

Furthermore, according to this approach, safety needs to be addressed by people becoming involved and responsible for taking co-ordinated action within their own residential neighbourhoods in conjunction with statutory agencies. The term crime prevention is often narrowly interpreted and this reinforces the view that it is solely the responsibility of the police. The term community safety is open to wider interpretation and could encourage greater participation from all sections of the community4. We see community safety as having both social and situational aspects, as being concerned with people, communities and organisations including families, victims and at risk groups, as well as with attempting to reduce particular types of crime and the fear of crime.