The other problem facing target hardening is the erosion of public space. Public spaces could become less and less accessible as we try to strength ourselves against crime attacks. If everyone is taking the same steps to try and keep out possible perpetrators of crime, then we will also maybe shut out our neighbours. Unfortunately, it is likely that target hardening measures will only deter the opportunist thief.
If someone is determined to get into your home, or car, and has cited it as a definite for their chosen crime, then they will more than likely succeed in their task. It also means that householders who cannot afford to take basic security measures such as improved locks on doors and windows are generally more likely to fall victim to burglary, e. g. people who are young, unemployed, single parents, those with low incomes or who live on council estates, The next method of crime prevention I will consider the problems of is Neighbourhood Watch.
There was not a lot of criticism to be found on Neighbourhood Watch, however, most of the environmental approaches to crime prevention rely very much on the principle of informal social controls operating in cohesive communities and the idea that environmental design can help to encourage a sense of cohesion. This is the core idea behind neighbourhood watch. The main problem encountered with Neighbourhood Watch would therefore maybe seem to be in its implementation.
As Murray (1995) points out, however, improved environmental and building design can enhance the quality of life in a community, but if there are elements within that community, which continue to contribute to a pattern of disorder, or there are serious rifts within a community, then no amount of environmental intervention will produce a reduction in crime. 10Thus, those areas which could most benefit from crime prevention strategies are probably the least likely to show an improvement. There is also the problem of people maybe taking the law into their own hands, with a vigilante attitude being in danger of developing.
Also, there is the problem of it being a novelty factor. Although everyone may be very involved at first, the contribution can easily decline after an initial interest. Next, I will consider the problems with architectural design. The main problems with this sort of environmental control are practical ones. It costs money to manipulate the physical and build or reconstruct places. This also takes time. It takes years for planning, securing approval and then actual remodelling or constructing. There is also the problem of dislocation and relocation.
Physical projects frequently involve the removal of individuals and businesses or at least a significant alteration in their life patterns. The final problem is that of sunk costs as physical changes are difficult to alter if proven wrong, if they don't work in practice Architectural design has also been criticised for representing a somewhat narrow crime prevention approach. It ignores the fact that residents and other legitimate users of the space can in fact commit much crime. Access controls may be of limited value in preventing crime by residents. Also, standard packages of measures will not reduce crime significantly.
Packages would have to be tailor made and designed to combat specific problems in specific areas. There are many problems to think about when considering close circuit television (CCTV) and surveillance. First of all, CCTV was found to have little effect on crimes such as assault. One of the major glitches with CCTV is that it has the effect of displacement. Displacement argues that introducing a crime prevention measure, in this case CCTV, into a particular area will block opportunities for crime and offenders will therefore select a target elsewhere, or change their choice of crime.
In other words, crime is moved and not reduced. This is true of the city as a whole and of suburbs within Edinburgh. In relation to the city, it has been pushed further and further out of the city centre. If you were to consider the city of Edinburgh and look at a map of the city, a lot of the areas with a bad reputation are situated on the outskirts of the city. There are Sighthill and Westerhailles in the west, Pilton in the north, certain areas of Leith are considered to be 'no-go' areas in the east, and then there is Niddrie and Craigmillar in the South.
In relation to the suburbs within the city, a Lothian and Borders policeman said that after the cameras were installed at Sighthill just over a year ago, the area covered by the cameras has got better in relation to crime. However, the offenders have moved to the playing fields over by Stevenson College, where there are no cameras. Also, there have been cameras installed in the worst area of Broomhouse, but this has just resulted in the trouble moving further down the estate to where there are no cameras.
Brown (1995) 11 showed that in relation to personal crime such as robbery or theft from person, there was evidence of geographical displacement to other areas of the city not covered by CCTV. An Evening News article (16/11/2002) highlighted the problem of feuding teenage gangs that was affecting 2 local schools. The trouble had escalated to such a degree that the headmaster of one of the schools (Portobello) has now arranged it so that police are posted outside the school. This specific problem has been blamed on the effects of displacement.
CCTV had recently been installed in the nearby area of Craigmillar and parents felt this had simply resulted in the teenagers being driven into their neighbourhood, which is not covered by cameras. One mother pointed out that the teenagers know there are no CCTV cameras, and therefore less chance of them being caught. The next problem with CCTV is the cost. Westminster Council estimates that each camera costs i?? 20,000 to install and i?? 12,000 every year to run. This annual cost is mostly the result of the wages spent on those monitoring the screens.
This is a very expensive measure of crime reduction when it has been claimed that street lighting could be four times more effective in reducing levels of crime and at a fraction of the cost. 12 This was shown in the case of Duff Street, in Dalry Edinburgh. Crime was a significant problem in this area, but the introduction of better lighting on the street and in residential blocks, has had a considerable reducing effect. Another simpler option would be to have a more physical police presence, more proactive policing, as this has also been shown to reduce crime.
The next area I will cover is that of the level of fear of crime. It has been found that CCTV reduces levels of fear of crime among study respondents. However, there can be room for bias in these studies. One study (Ditton, 1998) showed that when asked questions in a PRO-CCTV survey, 91% of respondents claimed to be in favour of CCTV. When a different sample were asked ANTI-CCTV questions followed by whether or not they were in favour of CCTV implementation, only 56% were in favour. These figures compare to 71% of respondents being in favour when they were not asked any precursor questions.
13 There is also the question could we maybe become complacent? May seem like a strange thing to suggest, but when we are 'living in fear of crime', we may take more care and notice of how our movements and actions could maybe make us more of a target. Reducing this level of fear could make people more careless. It is also important to consider the life cycle of the cameras. After implementation, CCTV must be closely monitored to ensure success in reducing crime is maintained. The initial reduction in crime experienced my rise again if the publicity of the cameras is not maintained.
For example, although when first installed, the London Underground cameras reduced crime by up to 70%, this effectiveness then reduced after 12 months (Web and Laycock, 1992). 14 Furthermore, effects on vehicle crime and criminal damage began to fade after approximately 8 months (Brown, 1995) 15. Crime prevention benefits of CCTV began to fade unless publicity relating to the success of the cameras was maintained (Tilley, 1993) Next I will briefly look at the offenders' perception of the cameras. Most studies found that offenders are not generally deterred by CCTV presence.
(Butler, 1994; Gill and Turbin, 1998; Ditton and Short, 1998). 16 A BBC programme, Crimebeat, highlighted this problem. Another problem with CCTV that must be taken into account is that of discriminatory monitoring. Those monitoring CCTV have been found to adopt police categories of suspicion when viewing the screens. (Ditton et al, 1999). 17 The target selection of CCTV operators can be massively discriminatory towards males, and in particular, black males. This can transmit a very negative view about their position in society, no matter how law abiding they may be.
When certain sections of the community are disproportionately monitored, this not only acts to portray an impression of criminality amongst these groups (the crimes of this group are noticed while the same crimes among other groups go unmonitored and unnoticed), it also conveys a message to these individuals that they are not trusted. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report places a particular emphasis upon the use of training to deliver 'racism awareness' and valuing cultural diversity' (Recommendations 48-48, as sited on NACRO site).
Improved training for those monitoring CCTV systems may go some way to addressing these imbalances. A final major consideration in relation to problems with CCTV is that of privacy. The UK has more CCTV cameras in operation than any other country in Europe. There are two ways in which to look at his issue. Firstly, does it matter? As with all privacy issues, there is an argument saying that only criminals need to fear systems that monitor location. On the other hand, it could be argued, do you really want someone to be able to know where you are all the time, and do you trust that the information will not be misused?
There has been many an occasion when I've done something, then thought 'oh well, at least no one saw'. However, I may well have been caught on camera and not realised it. All companies and councils who plan to use CCTV and surveillance must conform to the guidelines set down by the Data Protection Act (1998) and the Human Rights Act (1998). The Data Protection Act 1998 requires that information be obtained fairly and lawfully. This includes codes of practice such as appropriately sized signs (A3 or A4) must be displayed where CCTV is in operation.
Also signs should display a clear 'purpose of system' message. Furthermore, the data/images captures should be used for the original purpose intended for the scheme. The cameras should be positioned to ensure that hey avoid capturing images that are irrelevant or intrusive. Finally, individuals have a right to a copy of any personal data held about them Public authorities such as the police, local authorities, prisons, government departments and courts are also bound by article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 which came into force on October 2000.
Article 8 states that, initially, everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. It also states that there shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights of freedom or others.
In order to apply with A8, public authorities should consider the following principles. They should first consider proportionality. Does the level of threat or risk to community safety warrant he existence of CCTV coverage? Is the level of coverage equal to the level of crime and disorder? Is there a balance between public safety and rights of individual? Next, it should be considered on legal grounds. There is a clearly drawn up Codes of Practices and Procedures document, and operators must be fully aware of and signed up to these procedures.
Operators must also be aware they can be held accountable if their monitoring practices are do not conform to the Codes of Practices and Procedures. Finally, they must look at necessity and compulsion. Is CCTV necessary? Or is there other crime reduction measure that would achieve same ends? As can be seen, although the above crime prevention measures can all go some way to reduce crime, they will not fully eradicate crime, as they are all fraught with problems. So if environmental criminology cannot eliminate the problem of crime, is there any other way in which it can help?
One revolutionary new tactic that is currently in use is that of Geographic Profiling. " Geographic profiling is an investigative methodology that uses the locations of a connected series of crimes to determine the most probable area of offender residence. It is generally applied in cases of serial murder, rape, arson, and robbery, though it can be used in single crimes (auto theft, burglary bombing, etc. ) that involve multiple scenes or other significant geographic characteristics. "18 So how does Geographic Profiling work?
As has already been discussed, crimes are often not random, but instead have an underlying spatial structure. Crimes tend to occur at locations where, in terms of profit and risk, offenders find suitable victims/targets. As an offender travels between his home, workplace, and social activity sites, his or her activity space (composed of these locations and their connecting paths) describe an awareness region which forms part of a larger mental map-an "image of the city" built upon experience and knowledge. Geographic Profiling relies on certain inclinations of serial criminals, which support this type of analysis.
For example, Geographic Profiling could not work if it was not recognised that they have a "tendency to hunt in known areas, a desire to disguise the home location, quantifiable criteria for perceived distance to crime sites, and an identifiable set of characteristics relating the crimes to a single serial criminal. " 19 Geographic Profiling also depends very heavily on crime sites belonging to the same series of crime, or the same offender and also on the knowledge of travelling distance in relation to particular types of crime.
For example, a murderer or rapist is likely to travel further than a petty thief or vandal. Geographic Profiling, although not used to help prevent crimes, is a very useful tool when it comes to solving them, or filtering the evidence to help solve crimes. As can be seen, although all the crime prevention measures can go some way to helping, there is still a lot of ground to be covered. When we compare crime figures across cultures, in Japan the number of violent offences (wounding, common assault, robbery and snatch theft) reported to the police in 1999 was 43,000.
In comparison to Britain, the number of crimes reported that were considered 'violent' stood at an astounding 3,246,000. Maybe there is only so much that environmental criminology can contribute when it seems that maybe the individualistic society we live in is simply more prone to crime in comparison to other, more collectivist, cultures. If this is the case, then Geographic Profiling is likely to be used more and more in the coming years.