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‘Discuss the use of alternative strategies of crime prevention and reduction.To illustrate your answer use examples from specific types of crime and offending behaviour.’

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Introduction

'Discuss the use of alternative strategies of crime prevention and reduction. To illustrate your answer use examples from specific types of crime and offending behaviour.' 'It is better to prevent crimes than to punish them.' Beccaria, (1764) Historically speaking, the police were initiated as a crime-preventing force, rather than to investigate after the crime has been committed (Reiner, 1992:98/9; Mawby, 2000:107). Crime prevention strategies have been centred on the work of the police for many years, such as the codification of the criminal law in the late 1800's and the rationalisation of penal policy in Britain. This would be seen to include the use of imprisonment rather than transportation and the removal of capital punishment (Gilling, 1997:2). Since the police were created in 1829, they have increased in numbers and now receive more funding than ever before, yet until very recently, crime figures have been rising. On the 26th October 2001, the Guardian cited the preliminary results of the 2001 British Crime Survey (BCS). In the article, it was indicated that the total numbers of crimes so far collated by the Home Office was equal to a 12% drop in the crime rate from the previous year. The Home Office described this as an 'historic departure' from the previously expected trend of a 5% increase nation-wide. Waddington (1999) describes the role played by Hollywood and television programmes in giving the police an aura of mystique and talent at detection work. ...read more.

Middle

This, more often than not, is because of a lack of resources and money. In a paper entitled 'Combating Burglary', the Home Office funded three projects in the UK to try three different approaches to preventing burglary (Stockdale and Gresham, 1995). They all had a positive effect to a degree, but the key details that were lamented by the police involved, were primarily about the lack of funding and resources. The public relations were excellent, and the schemes well received by local media and citizens, but it was discovered that enthusiasm dwindled quickly unless given 'innovative ideas' with which to advertise the campaigns (pp53/4). These efforts to clamp down on one crime had also left the police rather short on numbers for attending other crimes, and they felt that in prioritising burglary, they were forced to achieve performance targets. Though the publicity campaigns had received some corporate sponsorship, there was a direct shift in resources away from other areas (p55). These pilot studies never became nation-wide schemes. Crime in Britain is mainly related to the acquisition of property. Vehicle theft and burglary with a loss are the biggest crimes in the country (BCS 2001:12), but not necessarily the ones which cause the most fear. Fear of crime can be more distressing than being a victim of crime because it very often restricts people's movements and way of life (Laycock, 1991:viii). In a study entitled 'The Influence of Street Lighting on Crime and the Fear of Crime', the Crime Prevention Unit improved the quality of lighting in many city areas. ...read more.

Conclusion

The network was not completed until 1992, but it covered the central shopping area, a nearby housing estate, the town centre, the carparks and the hospital. In one year, the rate of theft from cars dropped from 207 incidents in 1991 to just 10 in 1992. In implementing a scheme originally intended for preventing criminal damage, it was found that the cameras were more effective in preventing theft (Osborn and Shaftoe, 1995:25). In summing up crime prevention, Colqhoun makes five very interesting points (see Garland, 2000:3). He outlines crime and offenders in context to society, thus: crime is a matter of temptation, not of a peculiarity of the individual; that crime follows wealth, especially in our capitalist society; control of crime should focus on prevention, as the poor and criminals will always be with us; that policing is the responsibility of anyone with an interest in preserving property and personal security; and finally that policing and prevention is a matter of improving society as a whole. In this light, the police become somewhat redundant from their original role as a deterrent (Gilling, 2000:137). Crime prevention has become more focused on personal efforts rather than those of the state to protect us from crime. The individual has to incorporate many of the strategies I have mentioned here to prevent themselves from becoming a victim of crime. In this way, private corporations could be said to have a stronger deterrent effect than the police. Word Count (excluding heading and footnotes): 2454 ?? ?? ?? ?? HEMIS Number 103983 Criminology and Criminal Justice Year 2 ...read more.

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