Sociology Index

Situational Crime Prevention

Situational Crime Prevention is premised on the belief that most crime is opportunistic rather than being the outcome of those driven to commit a crime no matter what.

Situational Crime Prevention attempts to reduce the opportunities for crime rather than just relying on the police after the crime has occurred. This approach is also called ‘effective guardianship’. The general category of community crime prevention includes strategies such as ‘developmental crime prevention’, ‘effective guardianship’ or ‘situational crime prevention’.

Community crime prevention is a general category of prevention strategies which focus on the community itself.

Evaluating Situational Crime Prevention Using a Young People's Survey - Part II Making Sense of the Elite Police Voice - Kate A. Painter, David P. Farrington, Institute of Criminology, Cambridge.

The aim of this research is to evaluate the impact of improved street lighting on crime in a local authority housing estate in Dudley.

It is argued that high quality evaluation designs, for example, comparing experimental and control areas and including before and after measures of crime, are needed to evaluate situational crime prevention initiatives. In a design of this kind using household victimization surveys to measure crime, we demonstrated that crime decreased after the street lighting was improved. Situational crime prevention with improved street lighting is a striking example for the public.

The Politics and Practice of Situational Crime Prevention - Crime Prevention Studies, Volume 5. Ross Homel, editor, Criminal Justice Press, Monsey, New York, U.S.A. 1996.

Situational Crime Prevention: Successful Case Studies. Clarke, Ronald V., ed. New York: Harrow and Henson, 1992.

Value for money? A review of the costs and benefits of situational crime prevention 
BC Welsh and DP Farrington, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge 
In recent years, in the United Kingdom and other industrialized countries, there has been a growing interest in the economic costs and benefits of efforts to prevent crime. Little is known, however, about the economic value of the principal strategies. This paper reviews the costs and benefits of situational crime prevention. Thirteen situational crime prevention studies permitted the calculation of benefit to cost ratios. Benefits were calculated more conservatively than costs. There were no consistent relationships between the studies' benefit-cost ratios and either the primary intervention technique employed or the primary crime targeted by the intervention. Current knowledge suggests that situational crime prevention can be an economically efficient strategy for the reduction of crime.

Serious Criminality at U.S. Colleges and Universities: An Application of the Situational Perspective - Don Hummer, University of Massachusetts-Lowell 
This research builds on data collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Law Enforcement and Management and Administrative Statistics program, which administered a questionnaire to larger (enrollment more than 2,500 students) colleges and universities throughout the United States. The primary focus of the original Bureau of Justice study was to assess the structure and functions of campus public safety departments. However, data were also collected on a number of variables indicative of the tenants of situational crime prevention, as well as data on serious offending from the sampled institutions. This research will help determine whether situational crime prevention initiatives derived from the situational perspective are successful in ameliorating serious offending in the campus environment.

Reduction of Suicides in Jails and Lockups Through Situational Crime Prevention: Addressing the Needs of a Transient Population - Christine Tartaro - S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice, Rutgers University
The problem of jail suicide has been widely publicized in many articles and corrections reports, yet seldom is this work organized in a framework. The current paper organizes the existing literature on suicide in jails and lockups within Clarke's (1997) framework of situational crime prevention and Clarke and Lester's (1989) work on suicide prevention. Due to the transient nature of lockup and jail populations, long-term strategies such as counseling or other programs may not be feasible. The opportunity-reducing techniques presented in this paper are tailored toward institutions that are faced with helping inmates through temporary periods of despair. Suggestions are discussed for reducing opportunity while attempting to avoid further isolation and depression of inmates.

Ethical and Social Perspectives on Situational Crime Prevention
Edited by Andrew von Hirsch, David Garland and Alison Wakefield - Oxfrod, U.K.: Hart Publishing, 2000
Book Review: Situational crime prevention refers to crime prevention strategies that aim at reducing criminal opportunities in the routines of everyday life. Methods of situational crime prevention (SCP) include hardening potential targets, improving natural surveillance, controlling access to property, and deflecting offenders from settings in which crime might occur. The editors go on to ask the central question: does situational crime prevention work? Does it merely displace crime to other locales and do its assumptions match what we know about prospective offenders and victims? In fact, one of the many fascinating issues explored in this quite valuable text is the extent to which situational crime prevention practices result in communicating to the public that crime is a normal risk of everyday life to be managed by the police.