Crime Prevention - What is it

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					                           Crime Prevention - What is it?


Crime Prevention can be defined as reducing the risk of occurrence and the potential
seriousness of a crime by intervening in the causes.


Crime Prevention focuses more upon the causes of crime rather than the effects of
crime. The intention of crime prevention is to significantly reduce or eliminate those
factors that can lead to a crime.

Crime Prevention can be described as having three levels - primary, secondary and
tertiary prevention.

1.   Primary Crime Prevention - Directed at stopping the crime before it happens.
     This could include reducing the opportunities for a crime to occur or
     strengthening community and social structures. Primary prevention focuses on
     social and situational factors. Social crime prevention addresses factors that
     influence an individual’s likelihood of committing a crime (e.g. unemployment,
     poverty, low education etc). Prevention strategies to address social factors can
     include school based programs (e.g. truancy initiatives) as well as community
     based programs (e.g. local resident groups promoting community ownership).
     On the other hand situational prevention addresses the environment (e.g.
     building design).

2.   Secondary Crime Prevention - Aims to change people, typically those at high
     risk of becoming involved in crime. The focus for secondary crime prevention
     can be on rapid and effective early intervention (e.g. youth programs) or on
     high risk neighbourhoods (eg. neighbourhood dispute centres).

3.   Tertiary Crime Prevention - Focuses on the operation of the criminal justice
     system and addresses the issue of offending after it has happened. The main
     focus is on intervention in the lives of offenders in an attempt to prevent them
     from re-offending (e.g. community youth conferencing schemes).

Overall the theory of Crime Prevention can often be difficult to define for a myriad of
reasons including:
•    The term ‘prevention’ can be so diverse in its interpretation.
•    There are different possible forms or distinctions of crime prevention. The term
     is used across a broad range of international stages where occasionally there
     may be confusion in the use of the terminology.
•    As a concept, crime prevention can cover many theoretical premises. There is
     often no real commonality in which theories associated with crime prevention
     are ultimately reducible.
•    The flexible interpretation of the word ‘prevention’ allows for the term to be
     used in many ways.

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