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Criminology Situational Crime Prevention
by
Martha J. Smith

Introduction

Situational crime prevention (SCP) seeks to reduce the number of crime events by focusing on limiting the opportunities for crime to occur. The approach typically uses an action-research model and assumes that offenders make decisions that are broadly rational. It is generally designed so that individual offenders do not have to be identified for the measures to be successful. It draws theoretical support from a number of frameworks that developed independently in the 1970s and 1980s, but which share a focus on the importance of analyzing either crime events themselves or the environments in which these events take place. Measures for blocking crime opportunities are classified according to how they tend to affect potential offenders. Currently, twenty-five categories of techniques have been identified, encompassing five main means by which they operate—increasing effort, increasing risk, reducing reward, reducing provocation, and removing excuses. While SCP can be carried out by anyone, the focus has been on developing measures that can be implemented widely by policing and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies, businesses and manufacturers, and others who control activities in particular environments such as public transport systems. Evaluations of measures have often been designed to look for both crime displacement and diffusion of benefits. Because the approach does not seek to change the long-term motivation of particular offenders, the possibility exists that crime will be displaced to other potential victims or targets, places, times, or types of crime, or that other methods will be used. Likewise, the measures may extend their benefits to nontargeted victims, places, times, methods, or crimes. SCP has been criticized on ethical and political grounds, in terms of its efficacy and the quality of its methodology, and as a move away from policies that have the achievement of social justice as a core goal.

General Overviews

There are several general overviews of situational crime prevention (SCP) by Ron Clarke that have been published over three decades. To understand the development in this area, Clarke 1980 and Clarke 1995 are essential works. Clarke 2009 provides an updated, concise, and easy-to-understand perspective on the SCP approach, with examples of the key concepts, including a discussion of adaptation, which is not considered another form of displacement. Lab 2010 and Tilley 2009 have easily accessible summaries of SCP that appear as part of general overviews or presentations of crime prevention, the former focusing on the United States and the latter focusing on the United Kingdom. Pease 1994 and Brantingham and Brantingham 1990 summarize the SCP perspective while also presenting examples of its relevance, allowing the modern reader to gain historical insights into its development and the state of crime prevention in the United Kingdom and Canada at the times they were written. Brantingham and Faust 1976, a seminal work applying the disease-prevention approach of public health to crime prevention, and Laycock 2005, an explanation of crime science, provide differing frameworks for viewing SCP within the broader context of crime prevention.

  • Brantingham, Patricia L., and Paul J. Brantingham. 1990. Situational crime prevention in practice. Canadian Journal of Criminology 32:17–40.

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    This work presents the SCP approach and applies it to the Canadian context of crime prevention by providing examples of its use in ongoing business enterprises and in the planning stages of new public and private building projects.

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  • Brantingham, Paul J., and Frederic L. Faust. 1976. A conceptual model of crime prevention. Crime and Delinquency 22:284–296.

    DOI: 10.1177/001112877602200302Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This groundbreaking work uses the public-health model of disease prevention to explain three different approaches to the prevention of crime, primary, secondary, and tertiary crime prevention.

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  • Clarke, R. V. G. 1980. “Situational” crime prevention: Theory and practice. British Journal of Criminology 20:136–147.

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    This widely disseminated article presents discussions of the term “situational crime prevention” and sets out the arguments in support of that approach that are still relevant to SCP today.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V. 1995. Situational crime prevention. In Building a safer society: Strategic approaches to crime prevention. Edited by Michael Tonry and David P. Farrington, 91–150. Crime and Justice 19. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    This essay presents a comprehensive description of the situational approach to crime prevention, including a number of theories that focus on the importance of crime opportunities in producing crime events; a method for analyzing problems, identifying solutions, and evaluating results; and a set of techniques shown to be successful in reducing crime.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V. 2009. Situational crime prevention: Theoretical background and current practice. In Handbook of crime and deviance. Edited by Marvin D. Krohn, Alan J. Lizotte, and Gina Penly Hall, 259–276. New York: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4419-0245-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This work summarizes the approach of SCP in general, including a discussion of adaptation, and sets out some of the factors recognized as inadvertently creating crime opportunities, such as criminogenic products, poor management, badly designed buildings and places, “leaky” systems, and criminogenic laws.

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  • Lab, Steven P. 2010. Crime prevention: Approaches, practices and evaluations. 7th ed. Albany, NY: LexisNexis Anderson.

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    Primarily an undergraduate text on crime prevention, this publication provides a chapter explaining situational crime prevention, its theoretical underpinnings, history, and examples of its use.

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  • Laycock, Gloria. 2005. Defining crime science. In Crime science: New approaches to preventing and detecting crime. Edited by Melissa J. Smith and Nick Tilley, 3–24. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    This article sets out the definition of a new paradigm called “crime science,” which includes SCP and crime detection, has a wide multidisciplinary methodological and knowledge base, and incorporates the standards and values of the natural sciences as a key component.

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  • Pease, Ken. 1994. Crime prevention. In The Oxford handbook of criminology. Edited by Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan, and Robert Reiner, 659–703. Oxford: Clarendon.

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    Looking at SCP and other forms of crime prevention as primary, secondary, or tertiary prevention, this work examines the theoretical underpinnings and the background and development of the situational approach, contrasts it with contemporaneous perspectives, and examines its future in the context of Britain in the 1990s.

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  • Tilley, Nick. 2009. Crime prevention. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    This accessible text on crime prevention has detailed, up-to-date chapters on situational measures and mechanisms, implementation, and evaluation that could provide an overview for university students, particularly in the United Kingdom, as well as those new to the field.

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Journals and Reference Resources

The three journals and one series that are the primary publications in which original research papers on situational crime prevention (SCP) are published are the Crime Prevention Studies series, Security Journal, Crime Prevention and Community Safety, and the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research. Crime Prevention Studies focuses on situational prevention, while Crime Prevention and Community Safety focuses on all types of crime prevention. Security Journal includes articles on all aspects of security and crime prevention, stressing the practical application of the work discussed. The European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research has a broad scope that includes crime trends, geographical contexts, and innovative crime prevention policies and practices. Other journals also publish articles on SCP and its related approaches and on crime mapping, crime analysis, and other methodological issues related to SCP. Two websites are set up specifically to address issues related to crime prevention and reduction, although one focuses on problem-oriented policing, a related approach. Crime Reduction was maintained by the UK Home Office but is now part of the National Archives, while the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing , a nonprofit organization whose mission is the advancement of problem-oriented policing in open and democratic societies, also has a useful website. In addition to English-language versions of its resources, the website also provides links to documents that have been translated into other languages.

Theoretical Underpinnings and Compatible Perspectives

While the rational-choice perspective was presented in Clarke and Cornish 1985 to help explain why situational crime prevention (SCP) works, it is not the only theory or preventive approach that supports, or is compatible with, SCP. Brantingham and Brantingham 1995b applies concepts from environmental criminology to three different types of crime prevention, while Brantingham and Brantingham 1995a looks at criminality of place and crime clustering from an environmental-criminology perspective. Clarke and Felson 2004 explains the differences between rational-choice and routine-activity theory, but finds that they are complimentary approaches. For more discussion of these approaches, see Initial Areas of Application and Classifications of Situational Approaches. Rational choice is considered a microlevel theory, crime-pattern theory (sometimes known as environmental criminology) is generally considered to operate as a meso- or neighborhood-level theory, and routine-activity theory is often viewed as a macro-level theory. The compatibility of these different theories of crime is also apparent from the discussions of them in the edited book of readings Wortley and Mazerolle 2008, which is an excellent resource for practitioners and researchers seeking a single source for new developments in this area. The volume also includes chapters on crime-prevention perspectives compatible with SCP—crime prevention through environmental design, designing out crime, and problem-oriented policing—as well as chapters on other related areas of research. The multiple roles that opportunity plays in crime commission are explored in depth in Felson and Clarke 1998. Knutsson 2003, a volume of studies on problem-oriented policing, demonstrates that many of the methods and techniques used in problem-oriented policing employ a situational approach to crime prevention. Zahm 2007 is a tool guide that shows how crime prevention through environmental design can be used in problem-oriented policing, and therefore by analogy with SCP. Newman 1996, on defensible space, is a clear presentation of how the author’s ideas can be applied to design out crime in residential areas.

  • Brantingham, Patricia, and Paul Brantingham 1995a. Criminality of place: Crime generators and crime attractors. In Special issue: Crime environments and situational prevention. Edited by Mike Hough and Jane Marshall. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 3.3: 5–26. Amsterdam, New York: Kugler.

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    This important conference paper, which applies concepts from environmental criminology to identify places that can be described as being crime generators, crime attractors, crime neutral, and fear generators, is part of a special issue of papers presented at the Fourth International Seminar on Environmental Criminology and Crime Analysis.

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  • Brantingham, Patricia, and Paul L. Brantingham. 1995b. Environmental criminology and crime prevention. In Integrating crime prevention strategies: Propensity and opportunity. Edited by Per-Olof H. Wikström, Ronald V. Clarke, and Joan McCord, 207–239. Stockholm: National Council for Crime Prevention, Sweden.

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    This chapter looks at how environmental criminology can help preventers target opportunity-reducing measures to aid in initiatives focusing on primary, secondary, and tertiary crime prevention.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and Derek B. Cornish. 1985. Modeling offenders’ decisions: A framework for research and policy. In Crime and justice: An annual review of research, vol. 6. Edited by Michael Tonry and Norval Morris, 147–185. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    This is the first complete presentation of the rational-choice perspective, a theoretical approach to modeling crime-specific criminal involvement and event decisions that was devised to help explain why reducing criminal opportunity can be an effective approach to preventing crime. The chapter by the authors in Wortley and Mazerolle 2008 has revised models and incorporates additional considerations relevant for SCP, such as repeat offending and crime scripts.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and Marcus Felson. 2004. Introduction: Criminology, routine activity, and rational choice. In Routine activity and rational choice. Edited by Ronald V. Clarke and Marcus Felson, 1-14. Advances in Criminological Theory 5. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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    This essay compares the development and reach of two theories that support the SCP approach to prevention and looks at other compatible theories and preventive approaches that seek to change the environment as a way of preventing crime.

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  • Felson, Marcus, and Ronald V. Clarke. 1998. Opportunity makes the thief: Practical theory for crime prevention. Police Research 98. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.

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    This research paper sets out a clear and detailed analysis of the role that opportunity plays in crime occurrence, as a necessary causal condition for all crimes and as tangible and relevant factors present in everyday life.

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  • Knutsson, Johannes, ed. 2003. Problem-oriented policing: From innovation to mainstream. Crime Prevention Studies 15. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Volume represents a comprehensive set of analyses demonstrating the utility of the problem-oriented-policing approach for a variety of problems, describing some of its analytical tools, and exploring the institutional support needed to carry it out.

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  • Newman, Oscar. 1996. Creating defensible space. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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    Downloadable summary of how to use defensible-space principles to change the environment to make crime less likely; includes several cases studies.

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  • Wortley, Richard, and Lorraine Mazerolle, eds. 2008. Environmental criminology and crime analysis. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    Comprehensive collection of work from some of the leading researchers and theorists involved in a variety of approaches to crime prevention, focusing on situational aspects of crime and crime analysis.

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  • Zahm, Diane. 2007. Using crime prevention through environmental design in problem-solving. Problem-solving Tool Guide 8. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

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    Example of a problem-oriented-policing problem-solving tool guide written for wide dissemination to a broad audience; this work sets out detailed guidelines for using crime-prevention–through-environmental-design (CPTED) principles and insights as part of a problem-solving strategy to reduce crime.

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Initial Areas of Application

The six compilations of research studies discussed here, along with the two books focusing on a single type of setting, highlight areas in which the situational crime prevention (SCP) approach was applied when it was first developed. SCP measures were initially identified in terms of crime opportunities and “physical” crime prevention, as Mayhew, et al. 1976 shows. In Clarke 1997, a volume of case studies, it is clear that the focus quickly spread to include a variety of places and situations and many types of crime, including alcohol-related disorder and harassing and obscene telephone calls. Some of the case studies in Clarke 1997 overlap with those included in volumes of the Crime Prevention Studies series also cited here. Public-disorder and injury studies are discussed in Homel 1997, while Graham and Homel 2008 focuses on one aspect (aggression in and around drinking establishments) of the more general theme of public disorder. Similarly, Clarke 1996, an edited volume of research on crime and mass transit, includes original research studies, while Smith and Cornish 2006 provides an overview of research and practice focusing on the prevention of crime and disorder on public transport. Felson and Clarke 1998, a special issue of a journal, includes studies involving residential apartments and looks at the roles of guardians and place managers in these settings. Natarajan and Hough 2000 looks at drug markets, while Maxfield and Clarke 2004 focuses on car theft, an area of initial interest for SCP researchers. Other compilations of research are included elsewhere in this bibliography where one of the works in the edited volume has been highlighted or the volume is dedicated to a particular topic.

  • Clarke, Ronald V., ed. 1996. Preventing mass transit crime. Crime Prevention Studies 6. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Volume of eight research studies that look at crime and disorder in and around public transport systems, some of which include evaluations of preventive measures used in these settings.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., ed. 1997. Situational crime prevention: Successful case studies. 2d ed. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This is an updated version of Clarke 1992 (cited under Classifications of Situational Responses), with fifteen new case studies of interventions using situational techniques, including studies of housing-allowance fraud in Sweden and subway graffiti in New York City.

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  • Felson, Marcus, and Ronald V. Clarke, eds. 1998. Special issue: Crime prevention in residential apartments. Security Journal 11.1.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0955-1662(98)00029-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This special issue of eight articles on crime in rental apartments illustrates how place managers and target guardians can be used to help prevent crime in shared residential settings.

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  • Graham, Kathryn, and Ross Homel. 2008. Raising the bar: Preventing aggression in and around bars, pubs and clubs. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    Accessible work examines research about violence and aggression around bars, clubs, and pubs and preventive strategies that use a situational approach.

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  • Homel, Ross, ed. 1997. Policing for prevention: Reducing crime, public intoxication, and injury. Crime Prevention Studies 7. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume includes nine studies that focus in detail on a variety of types of public-order and city-center crimes and policing issues, including alcohol-related disorder.

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  • Maxfield, Michael G., and Ronald V. Clarke, eds. 2004. Understanding and preventing car theft. Crime Prevention Studies 17. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This issue includes eleven papers on car theft that explore a variety of aspects of the problem, such as how the car will be used, the means used to prevent or detect the crime, and designing out the problem.

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  • Mayhew, P., R. V. G. Clarke, A. Sturman, and J. M. Hough. 1976. Crime as opportunity. Home Office Research Study 34. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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    This first collection of research focused on opportunity reduction from the Home Office Research Unit examines the possibility of using “physical” crime prevention to help eliminate crime opportunities and includes two case studies, one looking at steering-column locks on vehicles and the other at the presence of conductors on buses.

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  • Natarajan, Mangai, and Mike Hough, eds. 2000. Illegal drug markets: From research to prevention policy. Crime Prevention Studies 11. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This edited volume includes fourteen chapters that provide in-depth discussions of the workings of a number of drug markets for different types of drugs, as well as their operations in a variety of locations, in an attempt to understand how best to disrupt them.

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  • Smith, Martha J., and Derek B. Cornish, eds. 2006. Secure and tranquil travel: Preventing crime and disorder on public transport. London: Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science UCL.

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    This comprehensive review of crime and disorder problems and the measures used or proposed to deal with these harms focuses on the UK context but includes research and examples from North America and elsewhere in Europe.

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Expanded Application of the Approach

Although terrorism (in the form of airline hijacking) and child sexual abuse are not new to situational crime prevention (SCP) analysis, the works listed in this section represent a general expansion in the traditional scope or range of settings in which SCP is applied. Felson and Clarke 1997 is an edited volume on business and crime that focuses on the role that business can play in preventing crime. The view of business and manufacturers as crucial components of the crime-reduction process is expanded in the research included in Clarke and Newman 2005. Businesses, information systems, and the internet are examined in Newman and Clarke 2003, a discussion of how to apply SCP to a variety of forms of e-commerce, and in McNally and Newman 2008, a volume of edited studies on issues related to identity theft. Bullock, et al. 2010, an edited volume on organized crimes, looks at a wide variety of crimes using an expansive view of the possibilities for prevention offered by the SCP approach. Clarke and Newman 2006 also makes a strong case for using and coordinating SCP measures to prevent the use of terrorism. This approach is discussed and applied in a series of research studies included in Freilich and Newman 2009. Disrupting the international market in ivory represents an SCP technique to reduce the rewards of elephant poaching, according to Lemieux and Clarke 2009, a study that extends the reach of SCP to wildlife crime. Wortley and Smallbone 2006 is an edited volume on child sexual abuse that demonstrates the variety of analytical methods that can be applied to help prevent this crime.

  • Bullock, Karen, Ronald V. Clarke, and Nick Tilley, eds. 2010. Situational prevention of organised crimes. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    This edited volume of ten studies on the utility of applying a situational perspective to organized crimes includes analyses of six different types of crimes and examinations of crime scripts, situational techniques, facilitating conditions, and legitimate actors.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and Graeme R. Newman, eds. 2005. Designing out crime from products and systems. Crime Prevention Studies 18. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume includes six detailed studies of issues related to design and crime, including the role products play in crime, the effectiveness of and reasons behind product modification, and the part that manufacturers, designers, and government have and should take in redesign for crime prevention.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and Graeme R. Newman. 2006. Outsmarting the terrorists. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.

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    This volume presents arguments for using the SCP approach to reduce the opportunities for terroristic activity, examining the present vulnerabilities in a number of contexts and explaining how the preventive techniques might be used more systematically.

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  • Felson, Marcus, and Ronald V. Clarke, eds. 1997. Business and crime prevention. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume of thirteen research studies examines issues such as crime and the insurance industry and premises liability suits as part of an expanded discussion of crime prevention in business settings and looks at the role that businesses can play in preventing crime.

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  • Freilich, Joshua D., and Graeme R. Newman. 2009. Reducing terrorism through situational crime prevention. Crime Prevention Studies 25. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume includes ten analyses using the SCP approach and its related and evolving set of methods to examine terrorism prevention.

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  • Lemieux, Andrew M., and Ronald V. Clarke. 2009. The international ban on ivory sales and its effects on elephant poaching in Africa. British Journal of Criminology 49:451–471.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azp030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study examines the effect of an international ban on ivory, finding that elephant populations increased overall, but not universally when examined within each of the countries studied. Further analyses led to the conclusion that these differences were due in large part to the continued operation of unregulated, within-country ivory markets.

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  • McNally, Megan M., and Graeme R. Newman. 2008. Perspectives on identity theft. Crime Prevention Studies 23. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume includes eight studies that increase the understanding of identity theft historically and theoretically and in terms of how offenders and victims view the offense, how offenses are carried out and prevented, and how preventive schemes can be evaluated.

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  • Newman, Graeme R., and Ronald V. Clarke. 2003. Superhighway robbery: Preventing e-commerce crime. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    The authors provide a primer for using the SCP approach to prevent crime related to markets and information contained on the Internet and other information systems.

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  • Wortley, Richard, and Stephen Smallbone, eds. 2006. Situational prevention of child sexual abuse. Crime Prevention Studies 19. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Volume includes nine papers exploring theoretical and empirical analyses of issues related to the prevention of child sexual abuse.

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Analyzing Crime Patterns

Because one of the central tenets of situational crime prevention (SCP) is that a crime-prevention measure should be fitted to a specific type of crime, it is essential to understand the crime patterns presented at particular times and places. Clarke and Eck 2005 provides a clear step-by-step explanation of how to look for patterns and clusters of crimes and understand what they mean. This volume has been translated into a variety of languages, including Farsi, Turkish, and two Chinese versions (simplified and traditional). Information from victims about the occurrence of crime incidents and repeat victimization is often gathered through crime surveys, which are discussed in Hough and Maxfield 2007. Currently, the most common methods for identifying patterns of crime clustering and repeat victimization involve mapping crime. Boba 2005 sets out the essentials of this type of crime mapping, with Weisburd and McEwen 1998 providing theoretical and technical elaboration. Hirschfield and Bowers 2001 includes a wide range of mapping studies, some that are suitable for the beginner, with the sophisticated researcher able to benefit as well. The analysis of Farrell and Sousa 2001 that compares hot spots of crime and repeat victimization is part of a volume of edited studies on a variety of aspects of repeat victimization. Theoretical analyses of some of the meanings and potential causes of geographic clustering are set out in Eck, et al. 2007. The issue of crime, place, and prevention is also discussed in Theoretical Underpinnings and Compatible Perspectives. Clarke 1999 analyzes another type of crime clustering pattern involving “hot products,” items that more likely to be stolen than other goods. Ekblom and Sidebottom 2008 highlights the importance of being able to speak the same language in relation to risk and security when working with partners outside crime prevention.

  • Boba, Rachel. 2005. Crime analysis and crime mapping. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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    This book provides a comprehensive introduction to crime mapping for crime analysis, which is central to understanding crime patterns.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V. 1999. Hot products: Understanding, anticipating, and reducing demand for stolen goods. Police Research series 112. London: Home Office, Policing and Reducing Crime Unit.

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    This research looks for attributes of items that make them more likely to be stolen using research survey data such as the British Crime Survey and surveys by trade associations, and uses the acronym CRAVED to summarize the factors identified: concealable, removable, available, valuable, enjoyable, and disposable.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and John E. Eck. 2005. Crime analysis for problem solvers in 60 small steps. Washington, DC: Community Oriented Policing Service, US Department of Justice.

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    This summary, in step format, of how to carry out an action-research project, while written for crime analysts working in a police department, provides a very useful roadmap for researchers and problem solvers at all levels of expertise on how to put the pieces of effective crime prevention together systematically. The volume appears in at least a dozen foreign-language editions.

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  • Eck, John E., Ronald V. Clarke, and Rob T. Guerette. 2007. Risky facilities: Crime concentration in homogeneous sets of establishments and facilities. In Imagination for crime prevention: Essays in honour of Ken Pease. Edited by Graham Farrell, Kate J. Bowers, Shane D. Johnson, and Michael Townsley, 225–264. Crime Prevention Studies 21. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Research study examines establishments and facilities that hold promise for crime prevention due to their disproportionately high concentrations of crime.

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  • Ekblom, Paul, and Aiden Sidebottom. 2008. What do you mean, “Is it secure?” Redesigning language to be fit for the task of assessing the security of domestic and personal electronic goods. Special issue: Design and crime: Proofing electronic products and services against theft. Edited by Rachel Armitage and Ken Pease. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 14:61–87.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10610-007-9041-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper discusses the need for, and importance of, a clear and explicit shared language when working with a variety of stakeholders on product redesign for crime prevention. It is part of a special issue of articles on design and crime.

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  • Farrell, Graham, and William Sousa. 2001. Repeat victimization and hot spots: The overlap and its implications for crime control and problem-oriented policing. In Repeat victimization. Edited by Graham Farrell and Ken Pease, 221–240 . Crime Prevention Studies 12. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This study looks at the implications of an overlap between repeat victimization and hot spots, two different types of crime clusters, as they relate to high-crime areas and repeat offending; part of a volume of research focusing on repeat victimization.

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  • Hirschfield, Alex, and Kate Bowers, eds. 2001. Mapping and analysing crime data: Lessons from research and practice. London: Taylor & Francis.

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    This edited volume contains twelve papers providing theoretical and historical background and applications of mapping techniques useful for emergency response and crime prevention. The last three papers (by LaVigne and Goff, Pease, and Hirschfield) and the introduction by Bowers and Hirschfield are particularly appropriate for a general audience.

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  • Hough, Mike, and Mike Maxfield, eds. 2007. Surveying crime in the 21st century: Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the British Crime Survey. Crime Prevention Studies 22. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Several articles in this volume of fifteen studies deal with the distribution of crime and repeat victimization, central foci of SCP efforts, while others highlight some underexplored issues that might be important in future SCP efforts, such as the link between victimization and offending and methodological weaknesses in victimization surveys.

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  • Weisburd, David, and Tom McEwen, eds. 1998. Crime mapping and crime prevention. Crime Prevention Studies 8. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume includes thirteen papers on the use and meaning of mapping in crime prevention and research that together provide a good introduction to the topic.

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Classifications of Situational Responses

Writing with a series of colleagues, Ron Clarke has continuously set out common factors (or techniques) linking a wide variety of measures that limit crime opportunities by altering or affecting the situational context in which offending occurs. Hough, et al. 1980 is important for gaining an historical understanding of the development of situational crime prevention (SCP). The twelve-category table of techniques first presented in Clarke 1992 uses the three factors set out in the rational-choice perspective as affecting offender decision making—risk, reward, and effort—as organizing concepts differentiating types of categories. Clarke and Homel 1997 extends the number of organizing concepts to include factors that induce guilt or shame and includes four more categories of techniques. Looking at crime prevention in the context of prisons, Wortley 2001 challenges the focus of SCP on opportunity-reduction measures, arguing that situational precipitators deserve to be among the situational measures included in the approach. A companion piece to the author’s 2001 article, Wortley 2002 is a study of crime prevention in prison that expands the theoretical scope of SCP, as well as applying it in detail to a new setting. In response to Wortley 2001 and Wortley 2002, two analyses of SCP in the prison context, Cornish and Clarke 2003 modifies the table of techniques to include measures that reduce provocations and remove excuses, which the authors see as being potentially effective when used in a situational context.

  • Clarke, Ronald V., ed. 1992. Situational crime prevention: Successful case studies. Albany, NY: Harrow & Heston.

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    Introductory chapter includes a table of twelve situational techniques divided into three categories according to whether they increase the effort or risks of offending or reduce the rewards, and outlines the theoretical underpinnings of SCP (see also Theoretical Underpinnings and Compatible Perspectives); twenty-two studies of situational measures are reproduced in the volume as examples of each technique.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and Ross Homel. 1997. A revised classification of situational crime prevention techniques. In Crime prevention at a crossroads. Edited by Steven P. Lab, 17–27. Highland Heights, KY: Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

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    The classification described here adds one mechanism category to the previously devised twelve-technique table (see Clarke 1992), identifying a fourth preventive mechanism of situational factors that induce guilt or shame and broadening the scope of influences on potential offenders encompassed by the situational approach.

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  • Cornish, Derek B., and Ronald V. Clarke. 2003. Opportunities, precipitators and criminal decisions: A reply to Wortley’s critique of situational crime prevention. In Theory for practice in situational crime prevention. Edited by Martha J. Smith and Derek B. Cornish, 41–96. Crime Prevention Studies 16. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    In response to the critiques of situational crime prevention in Wortley 2001 and Wortley 2002, this essay presents a twenty-five-technique table of situational measures and contextualizes the circumstances in which situational precipitators might be useful.

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  • Hough, J. M., R. V. G. Clarke, and P. Mayhew. 1980. Introduction. In Designing out crime. Edited by R. V. G. Clarke and P. Mayhew, 1–17. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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    This introduction to a volume with studies on crime prevention identifies eight categories summarizing features of successful measures, with the volume itself providing a model for future compilations of studies with its focus on theory, inclusion of empirical research findings from small-scale studies, and discussion of attempts to coordinate implementation efforts.

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  • Wortley, Richard. 2001. A classification of techniques for controlling situational precipitators of crime. Security Journal 14.4: 63–82.

    DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.sj.8340098Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Looking at offending as involving two different types of situational influences, this article sets out a table with sixteen categories of precipitation-control strategies to illustrate additional controls that should be included as SCP techniques.

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  • Wortley, Richard. 2002. Situational prison control: Crime prevention in correctional institutions. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511489365Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Looking at the use of SCP in a prison setting, this study identifies both opportunity-reduction strategies and precipitation-control strategies used to control behavior, providing additional justifications for the classification scheme set out in Wortley 2001.

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Targeting and Implementing Responses

This section includes a broad set of empirical research studies and theoretical discussions of how to match responses to crime problems, who controls the key actors and places where crime occurs, how best to set up preventive initiatives, and how to marshal resources to help insure that the measures will be effective. Matching prevention initiatives to crime problems (targeting responses) is discussed in detail in two of the works. Cornish 1994 describes an approach to identifying how the crime unfolds in time and place toward completion and links these actions to situational crime prevention (SCP) measures. Ekblom 1994 sets out a system for matching proximal circumstances to crime prevention. Eck 2003 makes it clear that it is also important to consider the range of actors that affect the offender, the target, or the place of a crime event—that is, the “controllers,” which include guardians, place managers, and handlers. A recent study, Reynald 2009, on guardians, provides insights into understanding and measuring guardianship. Madensen and Eck 2008 examines the factors that explain violence in bars and presents a framework to look at the practices and decisions of place managers. Earlier research reported in Mazerolle and Roehl 1998 demonstrates how to use civil remedies for crime-preventive purposes, such as getting place managers in public housing to act in ways that achieve crime reduction effects. Sampson, et al. 2010 looks at the controller as an agent for the delivery of crime prevention through the use of the concept of the “super controller.” Knutsson and Clarke 2006 provides overall guidance on the implementation process, with Harris, et al. 2003 providing an additional example of how implementation works in practice.

  • Cornish, Derek. 1994. The procedural analysis of offending and its relevance for situational prevention. In Crime prevention studies, vol. 3. Edited by Ronald V. Clarke, 151–196. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This article applies the script concept to explain the stages of a crime event (or modus operandi) as a clear way of identifying actions that can be blocked, disrupted, or discouraged by the use of an SCP measure.

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  • Eck, John. 2003. Police problems: The complexity of problem theory, research and evaluation. In Problem-oriented policing: From innovation to mainstream. Edited by Johannes Knutsson, 79–113. Crime Prevention Studies 15. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Using a double set of triangles to help explain the factors associated with most crimes (offender, target, and place) and the potential controllers of each of these (handler, guardian, and manager), this work looks at four central questions for problem-oriented policing projects.

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  • Ekblom, Paul. 1994. Proximal circumstances: A mechanism-based classification of crime prevention. In Crime prevention studies, vol. 2. Edited by Ronald V. Clarke, 185–232. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Although encompassing more than just situational approaches to crime prevention, this complex classification system focuses on the causal mechanisms of the proximal circumstances of crime events and examines crime-prevention actions in terms of these circumstances, with examples from England’s Safer Cities Programme.

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  • Harris, Charlotte, Chris Hale, and Steve Uglow. 2003. Theory into practice: Implementing a market reduction approach to property crime. In Crime reduction and problem-oriented policing. Edited by Karen Bullock and Nick Tilley, 154–182. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    This analysis looked at two projects, funded by the UK Crime Reduction Initiative, designed to reduce the market in stolen goods by using the “market reduction approach.” This appeared in an edited volume with other studies on problem-oriented policing relevant for SCP researchers.

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  • Knutsson, Johannes, and Ronald V. Clarke, eds. 2006. Putting theory to work: Implementing situational prevention and problem-oriented policing. Crime Prevention Studies 20. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This edited book of ten chapters provides practical guidance about the challenges and the possibilities for success when carrying out prevention initiatives within a problem-oriented-policing framework.

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  • Madensen, Tamara D., and John E. Eck. 2008. Violence in bars: Exploring the impact of place manager decision-making. Crime Prevention and Community Safety 10:111–125.

    DOI: 10.1057/cpcs.2008.2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study looks at bars in Cincinnati and finds that violence is not explained by whether they are in high-crime neighborhoods but by the practices and decisions of place managers.

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  • Mazerolle, Lorraine Green, and Jan Roehl, eds. 1998. Civil remedies and crime prevention. Crime Prevention Studies 9. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume of fourteen studies explores examples of the use of civil penalties, particularly in relation to crime or disorder prevention, and the legal and theoretical issues surrounding this use.

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  • Reynald, Danielle M. 2009. Guardianship in action: Developing a new tool for measurement. Crime Prevention and Community Safety 11:1–20.

    DOI: 10.1057/cpcs.2008.19Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This research used ethnographic measurements of guardianship in physical and social context to look at the factors that contributed to its effectiveness in terms of crime in residential areas of The Hague.

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  • Sampson, Rana, John E. Eck, and Jessica Dunham. 2010. Super controllers and crime prevention: A routine activity explanation of crime prevention success and failure. Special issue: Expanding the boundaries: Selected papers from the 17th International Environmental Criminology and Crime Analysis Symposium. Edited by Sharon Chamard and Rashi Shukla. Security Journal 23.1: 37–51.

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    This article uses the term “super controllers” to describe a range of people, organizations, or institutions that create incentives that can be used to encourage crime-preventive behaviors among those who control places (managers), crime targets or victims (guardians), and offenders (handlers). This study is part of a special issue of research on crime analysis and SCP-related topics.

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Evaluation and Assessment

Although there seems to be agreement that it is crucial to evaluate crime-prevention initiatives, there are disagreements about how best to accomplish this. Pawson and Tilley 1997 presents “scientific realism” as an alternative to the use of experimental designs in evaluation. Guerette 2009 discusses this issue in a study assessing the success of 206 situational crime prevention (SCP) evaluations. This study is part of a volume of research that expands the evaluation toolkit considerably, examining fundamental questions about the adequacy of existing and historical measures and recommended designs for crime prevention, and setting out innovative measurements of effectiveness. Welsh and Farrington 2009 and Bennett, et al. 2009 present systematic reviews of evaluations of SCP measures, carried out using evidenced-based criteria set out as part of the review process of the Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Group. The former includes several different types of measures related to use of public space, while the latter examines neighborhood-watch schemes. The studies in Painter and Tilley 1999 also look at issues related to public space, in particular street lighting and closed-circuit television. Ekblom and Pease 1995 presents an overview of the general topic of evaluation in crime prevention that is useful for a wide audience. Bowers, et al. 2009 presents a framework for planning an evaluation. Roman and Farrell 2002 discusses the need for including a wide range of measures in cost-benefit analyses that are not usually considered. Braga and Clarke 1994 assesses the effect of a new product and the effectiveness of a design modification on car thefts, using data gathered after the changes went into effect. Issues related specifically to the measurement of displacement or diffusion of benefits are discussed in Expecting and Detecting Displacement and Diffusion of Benefits.

  • Bennett, Trevor, Katy Holloway, and David P. Farrington. 2009. A review of the effectiveness of neighbourhood watch. Security Journal 22:143–155.

    DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.sj.8350076Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This systematic review of thirty-six neighborhood-watch programs finds that twenty of the programs showed a larger drop in crime in the targeted area than in the comparison area.

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  • Bowers, Kate J., Aiden Sidebottom, and Paul Ekblom. 2009. CRITIC: A prospective planning tool for crime prevention evaluation designs. Crime Prevention and Community Safety 11:48–70.

    DOI: 10.1057/cpcs.2008.20Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This research article discusses an analytical approach designed both to assist the evaluator of a crime-prevention initiative in gaining an understanding of what is needed in an evaluation and to serve as a systematic technique to help achieve these results.

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  • Braga, Anthony A., and Ronald V. Clarke. 1994. Improved radios and more stripped cars in Germany: A routine activities analysis. Security Journal 5:154–159.

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    This article is an example of the use of post-hoc analyses of two changes in the designs of car radios, one providing support for the conclusion that the rise in thefts of car radios was related to the introduction of radios that could be fitted to several models of cars and the other providing support for the conclusion that a decline in car radio theft resulted from the introduction of security coding.

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  • Ekblom, Paul, and Ken Pease. 1995. Evaluating crime prevention. In Building a safer society: Strategic approaches to crime prevention. Edited by Michael Tonry and David P. Farrington, 585–662. Crime and Justice 19. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    While cataloguing the types of problems evaluators confront, this work sets out the general goals of an evaluation of a crime-prevention initiative and discusses the need for repeated research looking at the mechanisms by which changes are achieved.

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  • Guerette, Rob T. 2009. The pull, push, and expansion of situational crime prevention evaluation: An appraisal of thirty-seven years of research. In Evaluating crime reduction initiatives. Edited by Johannes Knutsson and Nick Tilley, 29–58. Crime Prevention Studies 24. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This study looks at the effectiveness of 206 SCP initiatives in terms of technique used and a variety of other factors and discusses the relative advantages of using randomized experimentation and scientific realism in SCP evaluations.

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  • Painter, Kate, and Nick Tilley, eds. 1999. Surveillance of public space: CCTV, street lighting and crime prevention. Crime Prevention Studies 10. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This volume on evaluations of closed-circuit television and street lighting covers a wide range of issues related to evaluation of public space and crime prevention, including two reviews of initiatives by type of measure, five evaluations of projects, and several papers commenting on the implications of the measure used (closed-circuit television) or of the properties selected for receipt of prevention initiative (suburban residences).

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  • Pawson, Ray, and Nick Tilley. 1997. Realistic evaluation. London: SAGE.

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    This book makes the case for expanding the evaluation toolkit beyond experimental designs to look at the mechanisms and contexts that operate to produce multiple measured effects.

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  • Roman, John, and Graham Farrell. 2002. Cost-benefit analysis for crime prevention: Opportunity costs, routine savings and crime externalities. In Evaluation for crime prevention. Edited by Nick Tilley, 53–92. Crime Prevention Studies 14. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This analysis presents arguments for adopting a wider range of measures of the costs and benefits of crime prevention, increasing the discussion of these measures, and shifting the burden of payment for some of these costs. The volume includes five studies of evaluation.

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  • Welsh, Brandon C., and David P. Farrington. 2009. Making public places safer: Surveillance and crime prevention. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    This systematic review of crime-prevention initiatives looks at the effectiveness of prevention measures carried out in public places, including reviews of forty-four studies of closed-circuit television, thirteen studies of street lighting, five studies of security guards, two of place managers (a concierge and a taxi company operating out of a parking garage), and five of street barriers, other street modifications, or design changes in public housing.

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Consequences

This section includes studies and analyses that set out some of the key issues related to the unintended consequences of situational crime prevention (SCP) measures, primarily displacement and diffusion of benefits. Discussions of the expected patterns of displacement, its measurement, and its actual prevalence are included in the next section (Expecting and Detecting Displacement and Diffusion of Benefits), while other criticisms of SCP are primarily included in the final section (Criticisms and Responses). As Clarke and Weisburd 1994 and Smith, et al. 2002 demonstrate, not all unintended consequences of SCP are negative. The former analysis discusses diffusion of benefits to nontargeted groups, times, methods, crimes, or areas, while the latter discusses crime drops that occur before an SCP initiative formally starts. Reppetto 1976 defines five types of displacement, Barr and Pease 1990 looks at the benign and malign consequences of changing crime patterns, and Barnes 1995 discusses how to optimize displacement to produce the best effect on crime rates. Teichman 2005 expanded the discussion of displacement to consider the potential effects of different crime-control policies, some of which may relate to SCP, across jurisdictions. Grabosky 1996 discusses a variety of potential types of unintended consequences of SCP initiatives and how to address these issues by changing the way the initiative is carried out. Burglar alarms, an SCP tool that increases the risks of offending, often go off when no offender is present. Sampson 2007 addresses how to deal with this problem in a problem-oriented policing guide. Researchers have identified what is called the “fear-of-crime paradox”—an association between the awareness of SCP and other crime-prevention measures and higher reported levels of fear of crime. Barbaret and Fisher 2009 finds examples of this in the authors’ research and discusses possible reasons for these findings.

  • Barbaret, Rosemary, and Bonnie S. Fisher. 2009. Can security beget insecurity?: Security and crime prevention awareness and fear of burglary among university students in the East Midlands. Security Journal 22:3–23.

    DOI: 10.1057/sj.2008.9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors discuss what has been called the “fear-of-crime paradox,” when high levels of fear are reported despite the presence of certain security measures, with potential explanations for why fear might be associated with some types of measures.

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  • Barnes, Geoffrey C. 1995. Defining and optimizing displacement. In Crime and place. Edited by John E. Eck and David Weisburd, 95–113. Crime Prevention Studies 4. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Study reviews the previous research on displacement and crime prevention and considers how to maximize the potential for particular forms of displacement to occur that will make future crime commission most difficult for offenders and their possible replacements, in a volume that looks at a variety of issues related to crime and place.

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  • Barr, Robert, and Ken Pease. 1990. Crime placement, displacement, and deflection. In Crime and justice: A review of research, vol. 12. Edited by Michael Tonry and Norval Morris, 277–318. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    This paper examines crime placement and deflection both empirically and theoretically, noting the importance of considering whether changes that occur result in more desirable (benign) or less desirable (malign) crime patterns.

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  • Clarke, Ronald V., and David Weisburd. 1994. Diffusion of crime control benefits: Observations on the reverse of displacement. In Crime prevention studies, vol. 2. Edited by Ronald V. Clarke, 165–183. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Study identifies two processes that operate when there is a diffusion of benefits—the term used to describe an unexpected reduction of crimes not targeted by a prevention initiative—deterrence (a risk-related factor) and discouragement (a factor related to a balancing of rewards and efforts), which are both dependent upon potential offender perceptions.

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  • Grabosky, P. N. 1996. Unintended consequences of crime prevention. In The politics and practice of situational crime prevention. Edited by Ross Homel, 25–56. Crime Prevention Studies 5. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    This analysis of potentially ineffective or counterproductive results of SCP initiatives includes suggestions for ways to avoid some of these through better analysis, planning, or implementation.

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  • Reppetto, Thomas A. 1976. Crime prevention and the displacement phenomenon. Crime and Delinquency 22:166–177.

    DOI: 10.1177/001112877602200204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Classic study outlines and discusses five forms of displacement that can potentially occur following an opportunity-reduction initiative or one that poses increased risk to offenders: temporal, tactical, target, territorial, and functional (from one crime to another).

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  • Sampson, Rana. 2007. False burglar alarms. 2d ed. Problem-specific Guides 5. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

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    This guide describes the research about the problem of police response to false burglar alarms, provides guidance on how to gather information about it in a particular location, sets out and discusses a range of responses to prevent or lessen the effects of the problem, and suggests measures that might be used to assess the effectiveness of chosen responses.

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  • Smith, Martha J., Ronald V. Clarke, and Ken Pease. 2002. Anticipatory benefits in crime prevention. In Analysis for crime prevention. Edited by Nick Tilley, 71–88. Crime Prevention Studies 13. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Using the term “anticipatory benefits” to describe drops in crime that occur prior to the implementation of a crime-prevention initiative, this study looks at how often this phenomenon was detected in evaluations of the use of SCP measures and discusses possible reasons that it may occur in an SCP initiative.

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  • Teichman, Doron. 2005. The market for criminal justice: Federalism, crime control, and jurisdictional competition. Michigan Law Review 103:1831–1876.

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    The analysis considers displacement of crime in relation to the different resources and differential harshness of standards and practices affecting crime control that are permitted under the existing federal system in the United States.

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Expecting and Detecting Displacement and Diffusion of Benefits

Cornish and Clarke 1987 and Brantingham and Brantingham 2003 discuss how the rational-choice perspective and environmental criminology, respectively, can be used to provide guidance about the types, extent, and patterns of displacement that might be expected following a situational crime prevention (SCP) initiative. These are classic descriptions of how to use theory to explain a potential empirical effect. Hamilton-Smith 2002 builds on this tradition in an analysis of theory and practice, examining the utility of using buffer zones in the detection of displacement and diffusion of benefits. Three studies used previous research studies to look for displacement and search for patterns in the effects found. Hesseling 1994 examines fifty-five crime-prevention studies and reports that twenty-two found no displacement, and that where it is found it tends to be limited. Eck 1993 identifies what the author calls “familiarity decay” to explain why displacement might have been limited. Guerette and Bowers 2009 looks at 206 studies and reports their findings in detail. For some of the studies, the authors were able to use the measurement technique described in Bowers and Johnson 2003 for assessing the overall effect of displacement and diffusion of benefits on crime figures. Clarke, et al. 1994 looks at patterns of slug use on the London Underground, finding it unlikely that the later patterns of offending demonstrate tactical, or method, displacement. Using a series of measures to detect the operation of spatial displacement and diffusion of benefits, Weisburd, et al. 2006 presents findings from a study designed specifically to detect these effects following a police-enforcement initiative.

  • Bowers, Kate J., and Shane D. Johnson. 2003. Measuring the geographical displacement and diffusion of benefit effects of crime prevention activity. Journal of Quantitative Criminology 19:275–301.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1024909009240Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a proposal for the use of a standardized measurement to adjust how crime prevention effectiveness is determined that takes into account any changes due to displacement or diffusion of crime-control benefits.

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  • Brantingham, Paul J., and Patricia L. Brantingham. 2003. Anticipating the displacement of crime using the principles of environmental criminology. In Theory for practice in situational prevention. Edited by Martha J. Smith and Derek B. Cornish, 119–148. Crime Prevention Studies 16. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Paper discusses how using a variety of theoretical insights into the movement and routine-activity patterns and awareness spaces of offenders and victims allows interveners to incorporate probable displacement sites and times into the preventive initiative to increase its likely success.

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  • Clarke, Ronald, V., Ronald P. Cody, and Mangai Natarajan. 1994. Subway slugs: Tracking displacement on the London Underground British Journal of Criminology 34:122–138.

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    Research looks at slug use on the London Underground before and after a prevention measure was implemented, finding it unlikely that a second set of slug-use offenses represented tactical displacement by the first set of offenders.

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  • Cornish, Derek B., and Ronald V. Clarke. 1987. Understanding crime displacement: An application of rational choice theory. Criminology 25:933–947.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1987.tb00826.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The idea of choice-structuring properties of crime—the perceived opportunities, costs, and benefits related to particular types of crimes—is applied to assist in explaining the types and extent of displacement that might result from a crime-prevention initiative.

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  • Eck, John E. 1993. The threat of crime displacement. Criminal Justice Abstracts 25:527–546.

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    This study looks at thirty-three evaluations of crime-prevention initiatives that found some type of displacement and proposes the concept of “familiarity decay” to help account for some of the patterns of displacement identified.

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  • Guerette, Rob T., and Kate J. Bowers. 2009. Assessing the extent of crime displacement and diffusion of benefits: A review of situational crime prevention evaluations. Criminology 47:1331–1368.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2009.00177.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Sophisticated analyses of the largest group of SCP evaluations yet identified looks for reported displacement and diffusion of benefits effects and assesses their influence on the overall success of the crime-prevention initiatives.

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  • Hamilton-Smith, Niall. 2002. Anticipated consequences: Developing a strategy for the targeted measurement of displacement and diffusion of benefits. In Evaluation for crime prevention. Edited by Nick Tilley, 11–52. Crime Prevention Studies 14. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice .

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    This study explores how to use information available about offender decision making, motivation, and mobility to set up buffer zones to help assess and evaluate changes in crime patterns following an initiative.

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  • Hesseling, René B. P. 1994. Displacement: A review of the empirical literature. In Crime prevention studies, vol. 3. Edited by Ronald V. Clarke, 197–230. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice.

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    Review looks at fifty-five studies of crime prevention, most of which involved SCP measures, and reports that twenty-two found no displacement and six found diffusion of benefits. Where displacement is found, it tends to be limited.

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  • Weisburd, David, Laura A. Wyckoff, Justin Ready, John E. Eck, Joshua C. Hinkle, and Frank Gajewski. 2006. Does crime just move around the corner? A controlled study of spatial displacement and diffusion of crime control benefits. Criminology 44:549–591.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00057.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study looking for spatial displacement and diffusion of benefits around two drug markets in Jersey City, New Jersey, using a complex set of methods, finds little support for displacement and some support for spatial diffusion of crime-control benefits, while qualitative data on prostitution supports findings of both desistence and some method displacement.

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Criticisms and Responses

Five of the cited works discussed here include either direct criticisms of situational crime prevention (SCP) or of factors associated with the SCP approach to crime prevention. Criticisms of SCP often come from scholars working outside of the SCP tradition, with a notable exception being Hope 2009, which is primarily concerned with inequality of access to prevention among the poor. Equity was also a concern of Trasler 1986, which had additional criticisms of SCP. Garland 1996 and many of the views presented in von Hirsch, et al. 2000 focus on social justice and political and ideological effects seen as associated with the use of SCP by governmental agencies. Garland 1996 is also concerned that the increased adoption of the SCP approach indicates that governmental agencies are not in control of crime prevention. Hayward 2007 presents a view of the limitations of SCP that are related to its dependence on the rational-choice perspective, which the author sees as incapable of being applied to expressive crimes. This argument is similar to views expressed in Trasler 1986, which Farrell 2010 points out in response to Hayward 2007. Clarke 2005 presents a direct response to each of seven different criticisms of SCP and the author also presents his views in one of the chapters in von Hirsch, et al. 2000. Knepper 2009 is an analysis of crime prevention and social welfare that concludes that in Europe SCP has had a positive influence on social welfare, with its use in public housing and public transport. Tilley 2004 places SCP firmly within the tradition of the philosopher Karl Popper, building scientific knowledge and reducing harm by, among other things, using a piecemeal problem-solving situational approach that assumes that human behavior is rational. Although broadly supportive of SCP and Popper’s views of social science, Tilley suggests that the SCP and rational-choice assumptions of rationality may be limiting in practice. Other critiques and criticisms of SCP are included in Classifications of Situational Responses and Consequences.

  • Clarke, Ronald V. 2005. Seven misconceptions of situational crime prevention. In Handbook of crime prevention and community safety. Edited by Nick Tilley, 39–70. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    In addition to providing a general overview of SCP, this chapter provides a summary of criticisms of SCP and responses to them in an easy-to-understand table format.

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  • Farrell, Graham. 2010. Situational crime prevention and its discontents: Rational choice and harm reduction versus “cultural criminology.” Social Policy and Administration 44:40–66.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2009.00699.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This article responds in detail to the view expressed by Hayward 2007 that SCP cannot be used to prevent expressive crimes, concluding that the criticism of SCP and the rational-choice perspective is incorrect.

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  • Garland, David. 1996. The limits of the sovereign state: Strategies of crime control in contemporary society. British Journal of Criminology 36:445–471.

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    This essay looks at the changes in government policy in relation to crime, including, among others things, what the author calls the “new criminologies of everyday life” (SCP and its compatible theoretical perspectives) and the “responsibilization strategy” (seeking crime-prevention responses from others besides governmental agencies), which potentially lead to limited access to prevention among the poor and the diminution of the role of social change and social justice in crime-prevention policy.

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  • Hayward, Keith. 2007. Situational crime prevention and its discontents: Rational choice theory versus the “culture of now.” Social Policy and Administration 41:232–250.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2007.00550.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article argues that SCP cannot be used to prevent expressive crimes resulting from the subjectivities and emotions ultimately associated with late-modern consumerism because SCP is dependent upon rational-choice theory, which is too limited to explain impulsive and irrational behaviors.

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  • Hope, Tim. 2009. The political evolution of situational crime prevention in England and Wales. In Crime prevention policies in comparative perspective. Edited by Adam Crawford, 38–61. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    This paper looks at SCP in the context of recent programs to reduce crime in England and Wales, noting the emergence of the partnership approach, and concludes that, despite some successes, SCP does not address inequalities in access among the poor and those without property.

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  • Knepper, Paul. 2009. How situational crime prevention contributes to social welfare. Liverpool Law Review 30:57–75.

    DOI: 10.1007/s10991-009-9051-3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Concentrating on crime prevention in a European context, this essay argues that, although advocates of SCP do not have increased social welfare as an explicit goal, in contrast to social-crime-prevention advocates, the approach has nevertheless contributed to traditional social welfare and the welfare state, particularly in its focus on public housing and public transport.

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  • Tilley, Nick. 2004. Karl Popper: A philosopher for Ronald Clarke’s situational crime prevention? In Tradition and innovation in crime and justice. Edited by Shlomo G. Shoham and Paul Knepper, 39–56. Israel Studies in Criminology 8. Whitby, ON: De Sitter.

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    This work looks at the affinities between the views of Karl Popper and SCP, particularly in relation to their views of the most effective methods for furthering scientific knowledge (i.e., adopting an applied focus, seeking to reduce harm, and approaching social problems using a piecemeal problem-solving situational approach) and of the assumption of the rationality of human behavior. The work challenges the efficacy of assuming rationality, even the “weak” rationality set out in the rational-choice perspective.

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  • Trasler, Gordon. 1986. Situational crime control and rational choice: A critique. In Situational crime prevention: From theory into practice. Edited by Kevin Heal and Gloria Laycock, 17–24. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.

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    This critique, in one of the first compilations of studies using situational measures, sets out some of the common criticisms of the situational approach: it does not deal with underlying societal problems or high-rate, persistent career criminals; it cannot deal with crimes of passion or expressive crimes; and there is a potential for displacement of crime.

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  • von Hirsch, Andrew, David Garland, and Alison Wakefield, eds. 2000. Ethical and social perspectives on situational crime prevention. Oxford: Hart.

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    This is a volume of essays on ethical, political, and social aspects of SCP, such as its use in public space and mass private property and ethical and political issues about who gets the benefits and who is in charge of carrying it out. Only one of the essays provides a defense of SCP, focusing on attempts to avoid or lessen harmful potential consequences of SCP, and on the “conservative” values and politics that critics claim it represents.

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LAST MODIFIED: 04/14/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0040

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