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Posted on April 22nd, 2014, by

The concept of crime

It is hard to determine the concept of crime, and it is important to distinguish crime and prevention. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, crime is an act punishable by law as being forbidden by statue or injuries to the public welfare (Kitchen, 2002). In other words, crime is a violation of laws or regulations determined by supervisory authorities. These are regulatory policies and certain security for the performance of obligations which might consequently result in punishment. Nonetheless, it is important to mention that different societies define crimes in a different way according to their own understanding (Colquhoun, 2004).

From another point of view, crime prevention is determined by various researchers such as, for example, Ted Kitchen who emphasizes that the means of crime prevention are the following:

A pattern of attitudes and behaviour directed both at reducing the threat of crime and enhancing the sense of safety and security, to positively influence the quality of life in our society and to help develop environments where crime cannot flourish (Kitchen, 2002).

Thus, crime prevention is a concept which has been in use for a long time, while crime reduction is relatively new.

Crime and kinds of crime prevention

In Great Britain crime has existed ever since people appeared in that area, and it is different in various parts of the country, depending on location and population (Osborn, 1999). Crime acquired a meaning of a social obstacle of the contemporary world which badly influences the lives of numerous people every year. Such crimes as theft, mugging, rape, break-in and especially murder, are known as a great threat to the security of common people and their well-doing. Dangerous crimes against common people and their belongings result in the fact that people become extremely afraid to live in the area. It restricts the independence and freedom of common people, which prevents people from taking an active part in the life of the community (NCPC, 2003).

In the areas with high rates of crimes people are afraid to lose their belongings, and their well-being is in greater danger, than in the areas with low rates of crimes. The risk of crime has existed ever since the crime itself (Kitchen, 2002). A person’s dread of crime can result in significant anxiety and disturbance. It leads to emigration from the crime areas and those people, who cannot do so, just can’t live calmly anymore and have to stay in their homes (Stollard, 1995). As a matter of fact, a certain category of people takes the risk of crime more seriously than others. Women, parents, young children, elderly people belong to this category. Nevertheless women’s fear of crime is more serious, as they might experience more violations and crimes, among which are domestic violence, sexual harassment and street robbery. However, elder population is under greater threat, as such people become victims of crimes more often than younger people (Clarke, 1985). The reason for it might lie in the fact that such people do not fully realize the risks and dangers of modern world, or maybe it is so, because the consequences of crimes are more serious for this category of people. Nevertheless many researchers tend to emphasize that the problem lies in the fact that elderly people are afraid to be robbed or become a victim of some other crime. And their fear of crime is sometimes a more serious problem than the crime itself. Their fears can result in constant staying at home (self-determined home arrest) which reveals how vulnerable elderly people are (Jones, 1987).

As a rule, crime can occur in inner urban areas, as well as on luxurious estates (Osborn, 1999). There are few different ways to overcome various problems of crime and the fear of crime in inner urban areas. It requires a full rank of strategies, such as law enforcement and action plans of the community which would lead to complete crime prevention (NCPC, 2003). In some residential areas crime can result in community decline which delays the prosperity of poor neighbourhoods. Investigations on this matter say that it resulted in the fact that common people tried to make judicial system protect them by discouraging criminals and other offenders. Nevertheless there are five points that comprise the criminal justice system. These are the police, probation, prosecution, courts and prisons that should be able to provide assistance to common people and protect them from criminals, as well as to quickly respond to crimes. Their role lies in responsibility to show people that crimes, particularly severe ones, cannot be tolerated (Home Office, 2010). In such a way, the justice system is not able to permanently prevent crimes in the locality. In this regard there is a common belief that architects, planners or developers can be efficient in maintaining security in the communities in urban areas where criminal rate is a problem, mainly because such people are influential in the design of buildings, houses and environment itself.

In order to decrease the criminal rate there is a certain plan of built environment. This decrease is accomplished by different notions and theories that are developed by the governing authorities. Nevertheless there are four main dimensions that should be taken into account when considering a crime.

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