Essay on Situational Crime Prevention

Situational crime prevention, also known as SCP, concentrates on different means and situations in which people relate with each other, as well as with the built environment (Osborn, 1998). Nevertheless the crime prevention methods have been altered and developed in the last 15 or 20 years, contributing to further understanding of crime, crime reduction and different alterations in the crime itself (Stollard, 1995). It led to the increase of certain situational crime methods. Thus, Clark (1993) used 12 methods to prevent numerous street and predatory crimes. Therefore in 1997 Clark and Homel improved those 12 or 16 methods by adding a separate category of removing the excuses for crime (France, 2007). Furthermore regarding Richard Wortley’s (2001) crime prevention research, Cornish and Clarke made up some additional methods in 2003, creating one more category reducing provocations (France, 2007). This category deals with the interaction of crime and location and is also trying to find solutions for existing problems in different crime situations. The solutions are as follows:

–      Enhancing the effort necessary for committing a crime, making it not so tempting.

–      Enhancing the risk of being captured.

–      Reducing the possible rewards for the crime.

–      Reducing provocations and temptations.

–      Elimination of excuses for committing a crime (Criminaljustice, 2007).

Some of these major issues consist of a combination of place-oriented and people-oriented strategies which have similar features with crime prevention through social development (CPTSD), and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) (Criminaljustice, 2007). The main point of situational crime prevention is the notion of opportunity which is regulated by efficient strategies aimed at reducing the crime level in the built environment. It refers to the function that concentrates on temptation playing the role of a component opportunity (Shnieder, 2002). According to Clarke’s (1999) concept, opportunity is characterized by five major factors, which are the following:

–      Risk (How likely is it that I will be caught?)

–      Effort (How difficult is it to get to the target?)

–      Reward (How much do I have to gain?)

–      Provocation (What pushes me over the edge?)

–      Shame and guilt (How excusable are my actions?)

Criminal decisions might be badly informed and affected by intoxicants. However it is a decision they make by means of opportunity. The choices which might result in some kind of crime can be different in comparison with crimes leading to other crimes (Sutton, 2008). Nevertheless there are numerous excuses dealing with criminal behaviour and an unregulated nature of these excuses might considerably influence the strategies of crime control.

Crime prevention through environmental design

The British government approved a national policy by means of its local governing organs to assist with crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). CPTED which has fundamentally become a police-led initiative aimed at applying place-based crime prevention concepts in the built environment (Kitchen, 2002). The researcher Alan France combined CPTED and CPSD strategies by saying as follows: CPTED more or less interlinks with CPSD strategies as people live in the built environment which therefore has an effect on how people behave. CPTED asserts that much crime is based on opportunistic and contextual (France, 2007).

Analyzing the research on CPTED, it becomes visible that designs of a construction can badly influence criminals’ choice in whether to commit a crime or not. Criminals are more concerned with the risk of being caught than by the rewards they might gain if they commit a crime, therefore the design of the built environment can help prevent crime (Crimestoppers, 2008).

CPTED are comprised of four major principles which can be used without causing much trouble to the environment. The use of the four strategies can be very successful in the areas with a high crime rate if the strategies follow these principles. However these principles can be fairly straightforward to apply and can also be economical to put into practice, particularly if it’s carried out in the early phase of the planning and design stages of a project (NCPC, 2003).

The four principles are ranged as follows:

  1. Natural surveillance
  2. Natural access control
  3. Territorial reinforcement
  4. Maintenance and management.

Natural surveillance

The initial principle implies natural and passive surveillance of public environment. Nevertheless it is well-known that the best and basic way to prevent a crime is to make criminals feel eye-catching (Stollard, 1995). Natural surveillance can be understood as people’s constant vigilance to the neighbours’ property as well as their own one, or the ability to be attentive to the surroundings. This idea of surveillance extends beyond the individuals or neighbours’ property to public or communal spaces such as children’s play areas, footpaths, access points and other community facilities (Colquhoun, 2004).

Thus, Colquhoun pointed out the essential principle of natural surveillance and its influence on offenders. The fundamental idea of natural surveillance is to create a sense of ownership which puts criminals in a position where they feel their being watched, and therefore the key to natural surveillance and ownership is that it promotes a sense of social capital so that residents and neighbours are able to recognise what is happening in and around public spaces and their doorstep (Colquhoun, 2004).

There are several methods to achieve natural surveillance. These are:

–      Windows in the building should be located so that it is possible to see public area, but not just the inner parts of the house (Crawford, 1998).

–      The elimination of obstacles can be used in order to improve visibility within the house (Kitchen, 2002).

–      The main entrance to the house or building should be directed to the street, enabling pedestrians and motorists notice awkward things occur (Colquhoun, 2004).

Relating to this, the Tilley’s investigation for the home office demonstrated that common people have a false understanding of such criminals as burglars, indicating that the things residents and local people watch and report for may not necessarily be aiding security (Tilley, 2009).

The governing authorities seem to have understood how important the dwelling orientation is when speaking about crimes and realized the essential role of natural surveillance performed in estates. According to provided policies, the government has come to conclusion that the developers and architects should think over the possibility to enhance people’s opportunities to be attentive to things happening within their community.

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