Sociology Index

Community Crime Prevention

Community crime prevention is a general category of crime prevention strategies which focus on the community itself, and this general category of community crime prevention includes strategies such as developmental crime prevention, effective guardianship and situational crime prevention. Community crime prevention includes media anti-drug campaigns, silent observer programs, and neighborhood dispute resolution programs. Modern community crime prevention "partnership" schemes are based on scientific assessments and are centrally coordinated.

Community crime prevention programs or strategies target changes in community infrastructure, culture, or the physical environment in order to reduce crime. Community crime prevention programs are based on the idea that private citizens should play a critical role in preventing crime in their communities. These strategies may seek to engage residents, community and faith-based organizations, and local government agencies in addressing the factors that contribute to the community’s crime, delinquency, and disorder.

Community crime prevention program restricts its application to activities that include residents of a particular area who participate in efforts to stop crimes before they occur in that particular area. The belief that citizens have a duty to curb deviant behavior, the basis of community crime prevention is as old as recorded history.

Community crime prevention may have started in England during the eighteenth century when playwright and novelist Henry Fielding mobilized people to addressing the root causes of crime and apprehending criminals. The idea that law-abiding citizens could prevent crime in their communities through non-punitive means received popular responce in the United States in the 1930s due to the work of the Chicago School of Sociology. 

The Community Safety and Crime Prevention Branch leads the development of crime prevention strategies and programs in British Columbia to help build and maintain safe communities. In the State of Hawaii, The Community Crime Prevention and Crime Prevention Branch is responsible for the planning and implementation of informational and educational workshops and activities focused on community crime prevention.

Community Crime Prevention Abstracts

Community crime prevention: A review and synthesis of the literature
Dennis P. Rosenbaum.

Abstract: In the absence of effective formal means for controlling crime in the Western world, community crime prevention has emerged as a major alternative and supplement to the criminal justice system. This article attempts to review what is known currently about the nature, extent, and effectiveness of community-based efforts to prevent residential crime. Included in this assessment are citizen actions to protect themselves, their property, and their neighborhood, as well as efforts to prevent crime through changes in the physical environmental and through innovations in community policing.

The historical, theoretical, and empirical rationale for community crime prevention strategies are discussed, but primary attention is given to the results of evaluation research in the field. Although community-based efforts are supported widely by theory, studies of natural covariation, and by numerous poorly designed evaluations, there is a paucity of strong demonstrations and evaluations showing that such interventions can alter the behavior and local environments of persons who are not already predisposed to crime prevention. Substantially more research is needed to determine the collective benefits of community crime prevention strategies, but a number of promising approaches currently are being developed.

Community Crime Prevention: An Analysis of a Developing Strategy
Dan A. Lewis, Greta Salem. First Published July 1, 1981 Research Article.

Abstract: Crime prevention strategies often aim at changing the motivations and predispositions of offenders. The authors explore the theoretical foundations of the new strategies for reducing crime, commonly known as community crime prevention. They suggest that the in novation is a result of a major shift in the research paradigm for studying the effects of crime.

The orientation underlying community crime prevention is labeled the "victimization perspective." The social control perspective, which is based on the empirical findings of several recently completed research projects, offers a theoretical foundation for a fresh approach to the study of the effects of crime and for the development of policies for community crime prevention.

Community Crime Prevention Books

Brown, Mark, and Polk, Kenneth. "Taking Fear of Crime Seriously: The Tasmanian Approach to Community Crime Prevention." Crime and Delinquency 42, no. 3 (1996): 398–420.

Crawford, Adam. "Appeals to Community Crime Prevention." Crime, Law and Social Change 22, no. 2 (1995): 97–126.

The Crime Commission of New York State. Crime and the Community: A Study of Trends in Crime Prevention by the Sub-Commission on Causes and Effects of Crime. Albany, N.Y.: J.B. Lyon Company, 1930.

Farrington, David P. "Evaluating a Community Crime Prevention Program." Evaluation 3, no. 2 (1997): 157–173.

Grant, Jane; Lewis, Dan; and Rosenbaum, Dennis. "Political Benefits of Program Participation: The Case of Community Crime Prevention." Journal of Urban Affairs 10, no. 4 (1988): 373–385.

Hope, Tim. "Community Crime Prevention." In Building a Safer Society. Strategic Approaches to Crime Prevention. Crime and Justice: A Review of Research, 19. Edited by Michael Tonry and David P. Farrington. Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Pages 21–89.

Hsia, Heidi M., and Bownes, Donna. Title V: Community Crime Prevention Grants Program. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Policy, 1998.

Lurigio, Arthur J., and Rosenbaum, Dennis P. "Evaluation Research in Community Crime Prevention: A Critical Look at the Field." In Community Crime Prevention: Does It Work? Edited by D. P. Rosenbaum. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage, 1986.

U.S. National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards. Community Crime Prevention. Washington, D.C.: The Commission, 1973.