The Nature Of Crime Prevention Policies Criminology Essay

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Crime and its control have become the bread and butter issue of competitive party politics. In general when we come to the issue of crime, everybody has something to say. Yet the issue of crime prevention is complex and has to be analysed deeply in term of strong, effective and efficient policies. According to (Van der Spuy 2001), 1crime prevention policies require clarity about its normative framework (principles) for crime prevention, adequate administrative capacity, and reliable data on crime rate or violence as well as relying expertise.

Crime prevention policies provide to the implementers the necessary guidelines and tools to prevent and reduce crime by intervening on the risk factors before crime occurs. For instance, Frank (2011:5-9) and (Lindblom (1959:89) argue that there are certain key elements which crime prevention policies have to embed. For her, these elements are: (i) it has to be muddled with regarding to the products and results: the relations between the inputs, the activities, the outputs and outcomes have to be clearly identified and the process of monitoring is patient to each stage of its implementation; (ii) this has to follow the principles of participation and democracy by involving as many different ideas as possible from different stakeholders; (iii) reliable data help the policy makers to understand the real dimension of the problem therefore the conception of the crime prevention policies have to be based on real evidences which (iv) most of the time the object for which the crime prevention policy addresses has been the same in different corners of the world recalling the police makers to be progressive and open minded looking deeply for experiences from others to ameliorate it; (v) finally, coordination among different institutions in the process of implementation claiming for the principles of coordination, rationalization of the resources, inclusivity and participation. (Frank 2011) emphasises that the existence of political, social and economic stability help the muddling of the crime prevention policies.

Acknowledging these elements help the policy makers in their policy analysis and accordingly to answer with authority the questions 'what would be the best thing to do? [And] what is the best result that can actually be achieved? (Munger 2000). According to (de Mesquita Neto 2001), their violation could create institutional or inter-institutional conflicts which mostly weakened and de-legitimise the implementation of the policies. Although there are no direct association to the increase of crime, it can jeopardise the quality of the crime prevention in general and in most cases the policy could just vanish due the lack of followers, too much criticism and sabotage.

2.1.2 Areas of intervention of crime prevention policies

In actual democratic world, most of the police forces deceive their citizens by presenting them numbers of cases in which they have investigated, and by any skill or chance caught the criminal or clarified the case with explanations on how it occurred and how they hope to catch the criminal. This is done by both police officers with or without uniform. According to (Cordner 1997), those police officers that work without uniform usually enjoy higher status than uniformed officers, whereas, within many police agencies, crime prevention officers are seen as public relations functionaries who are less respected and worsened by both the public and their colleagues. To many police officers, crime prevention work is simply not real police work. Moreover,

'… within both informal and formal police cultures, crime solving and criminal apprehension are usually more highly valued than crime prevention. An individual officer is more likely to be commended for arresting a bank robber than for initiating actions that prevent such robberies.' (Cordner 1997:3)

Clarke and Eck (2005) and Braga (2008), quoting Eck (2000) argue that most researches in criminology focus on why some people become persistent offenders raising the question why people offend. Furthermore, they argue that the relevant question should be why they are committing crimes at particular places and time and against certain type of victims. For better understanding, Hough et al. (1998) illustrates the "problem analysis triangle" embedding three features - victim, offender and environments - which are the main conditions for crime to occur. Accordingly, crime prevention policies have to break this chain by tackling all or one of them.

According to Frank (2011), in general crime require interventions in three main areas of action - law enforcement, social and situational crime prevention - which combined to reduce dispositions of an individual to perpetrate crime and victims to victimization. On the other hand, some researchers such as Van Dijk (1999), Brantingham and Faust (1976) and even Frank (2011) argues that the "problem analysis triangle" can also be tackled by using the level models approach - primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. The '…(1) primary prevention [is] directed at modification of criminogenic conditions in the physical and social environment at large; (2) secondary prevention [is] directed at early identification and intervention in the lives of individuals or groups in criminogenic circumstances; and (3) tertiary prevention [is] directed at prevention of recidivism' (Brantingham and Faust 1976:284).

However, for the success of the first approach, it's necessary to understand the second one requiring reliable data. For instance, CP is law enforcement crime prevention, but it requires information about the criminal records of certain community before a CPC can be formalised. The first approach is best used if the real dimension of the second is known.

Figure 2.1

Sphere of general crime prevention

crime prevention

Source: Adapted by the researcher based on (Frank 2011)

Situational crime prevention policies (SCPP)

The SCPP give more emphasises on the habitat in which the crime can be committed by reducing the opportunities of criminal to commit crime. Clarke (1997) conceptualizes it as

'... opportunity-reducing measures that (1) are directed at highly specific forms of crime, (2) involve the management, design or manipulation of the immediate environment in a systematic and permanent way as possible, (3) make crime more difficult and risky, or less rewarding and excusable as judged by a wide range of offenders.'

Furthermore, this researcher understands that the SCPP

'... is focused on the settings for crime, rather than upon those committing criminal acts. It seeks to forestall the occurrence of crime, rather than to detect and sanction offenders. It seeks not to eliminate criminal or delinquent tendencies through improvement of society or its institutions, but merely to make criminal action less attractive to offenders' (Clarke 1997).

For instance, Frank (2011), Clarke (1997), and Tonry and Farrington (1995) acknowledge surveillance cameras, urban organization, electronic access for cars and for telephone systems, railing houses or locals for commerce, streets illumination, cleaning up of scrub on parks and public places, closures and traffic schemes for residential neighbourhoods, alcohol controls, promotion of sporting and training citizens in conflict management.

The SCPPs clearly demonstrate that the crime issue is not just for the state or the government; but indeed for both private and public sectors.

Law enforcement crime prevention policies (LECPP)

The LECPP are related to the governmental institutions oriented to the application of the law such as the police, courts and prisons. Frank (2011) argues that in LECPP, the law is applied in order to fortify the rule of law therefore to decrease the index of crime. Furthermore, he brings some examples while illustrating the policing, oriented or non-oriented patrol, severely punishment for repeat offenders or fight against corruption. This strategy also comprises changes of the criminal law enforcement techniques and sentencing policies where some radical systems such as the USA and China are encompassed by death penalty, and the involvement of the media to create awareness on preventive action. Mostly, it acts on deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation and on socialization (Tonry and Farrington 1995).

Social crime prevention policies (SCPP)

Although Tonry and Farrington (1995) agree on the designation of social crime prevention policies ((SCPP), they prefer to bring double concepts for the same concept. Instead of considering SCPP as Frank (2011) illustrates, they look at developmental and community crime prevention policies. They understand that the community do influence the behaviour of the individual therefore by changing it physical and socially one can prevent criminal conducts - altering buildings and neighbourhood design, promoting awareness and recreational programs for the youth.

According to Frank (2011), SCPPs consist of tackling those social factors that can lead to perpetration of crime - programs focusing on the unflavoured families or families with a criminal record who have young children and adolescents and policies on education, employment and promotion of sport.

2.2 Community Policing (CP)

2.3.1 Concept and theories of the CP: Elements and principles

The consensus for the origin of the CP should be the mid year of the last century. Wrongly the Britains claim the first half of nineteenth century as the start of their CP from the Metropolitan Police, yet this period the police was not allowed to get in touch with people - they were just watchmen (Ross and Pease 2008:306).Meanwhile, Brogden (2005) argues that the CP appears from the Western, in the years 1960s and 1970s due to the emerging social changes in the societies and the inability in reducing the crime rates of the legal parallelism - legal reforms and traditional policing. Hence, in the West, CP has been based on three pillars, namely watch schemes, police community forums, and problem-solving policing with the objective of response to the rising crime, public expectations of a response, and the collapse and delegitimation of local policing structures. Yet, researches have shown that Japan have implemented the CP for already more than hundred years namely the Koban characterized by strong presence of patrolling within the community, and the Chuzaishos where they work 24/24 hours focused in rural areas. Those scholars understand that the CP appeared mostly in failed societies, as well as in the decaying urban metropolises of the West and thus it has become remedy for many problems of the communities(Brogden 2005:66).

Oliver and Bartgis (1998)argues that Community policing - CP is a new form of conception and operationalization of policing largely to the partnership police-community principally on the control and prevention of crime so increasing public safety. Meanwhile researchers and police makers understand that the CP has to be considered as a bunch of ideas therefore a philosophy. They argue that

'The definition of community policing has received much attention and debate by both police and academics over the past decade […] The majority of the definitions focus on an increase in police and community interaction, a concentration on "quality of life issues," the decentralization of the police, strategic methods for making police practices more efficient and effective, a concentration on neighbourhood patrols, and problem-oriented or problem-solving policing' (Oliver and Bartgis 1998:491) citing Oliver 1998).

To understand the concept of CP demands the understanding of the two concepts policing and community. Accordingly, Durão (2011) conceptualizes the policing as an activity institutionally framed, based on regular patrols assigned as a practice secularly integrated in the cities, conducted by agents guided to monitor and act about who and what is happening in public spaces. It also has been conceptualized according to each country due to their multiple and different understanding. For instance, Friedman (1992) argues that community could be people living in a certain area, geographically identified, and working in interconnected relations motivated by ethnic or common interest. Furthermore, 'Communities have special structures and feature their own process, problems and unique characteristics' (ibid). Moreover, in Mozambique, a community is a set of people and collective living in a certain territory such as a province, district, administrative post, locality, or povoacao, combining families whose goals are to defend common interests, such as safety of people, public and private goods and natural resources (art. 104 decree 11/2005 of 10th of Jun)

Hence, McGarrel (2004:2) argues that the concept of CP tend to vary accord to the social, political and cultural understanding of local people. Moreover he considers three elements of the PC: (i) partnership between the police and the community, (ii) problem solving involving police and community and (iii) decentralization of the police. However, Skolnick and Bayley (1988:abs), illustrate that the '… organization of community-based crime prevention, the reorientation of patrol activities to emphasize nonemergency servicing, increased police accountability to local communities, and the decentralization of command …' are elements to be considered for the CP. So generally the CP elements are: (i) cooperation between the police and the community, (ii) developing a different role than the orthodox policing, (iii) preventive rather than proactive measures, (iv) decentralization of police resources to identified communities, and police accountability (Coquilhat 2008). These means that a well developed relationship and partnership with the communities are the fundamental elements for the CP, as it enhance police legitimacy towards the public and circulation of the information therefore boosts the police effectiveness resulting into a decrease of fear to crime (Mcgarrell (2004) citing Skogan and Hartnett 1997).

According to (Friedman 1992:4)

'community policing is a policy and a strategy aimed at achieving more effective and efficient crime control, reduced fear of crime, improved quality of life, improved police service and police legitimacy, through a proactive reliance on the community resources that seeks to change crime-causing conditions. It assumes a need for great accountability of police, greater public hare in decision-making and greater concern for civil rights and liberties'

2.3.2 Varieties of Community Policing

Whilst the origins of the implementation of the CP by many countries have the same roots - shortcomings of the police, their understanding about the CP differs accordingly to their political, cultural, social and economic situation (Greene 2000). In many African countries such as the farmer British colonies the CP has been attached to the police giving them power of creating and coordinating activities of the CP within their communities and they resemble their colonizers CP models. One could argue that the CP in African as in many countries is seen as political and developmental programs resulting from both the change of political arenas of these countries and the existence of police shortcomings. Moreover, in many Asian countries such as in India and Pakistan more contact was created between the police and the community by creating friendly police officers and lines for emergency or report any case, characterised by the community problem-solving approach enhanced by the police. Accordingly, an outcome on the varieties of CP is that CP can work only if the correct procedures and resources are ensured deferring among countries or community.

There are some historical models of CP such as (i) the Anglo-Saxony model characterized by creating permanent contact, dialogue, exchange of experience and information to the police, normally is controlled by small group of 5 to10 elements assigned to certain community; (ii) the francophone model, based on criminal investigation where the police appears to regulate social incidents and urgencies looking for a direct and a deep contact with citizens, and they are represented by a single police officer with an office within the community; and (iii) the problem-oriented policing, grounded on identifying the political, economic and criminal problems of the community, for they can create solutions together (Maguire et al. 1997, Mastrofski 1993 and Morabito 2010)

In reality the practice of the CP in different countries worldwide are practicing a mixture of three or two of the above models depending on the reality of local economic, political and social conditions as soon as they embed some key elements such as '... adopting a problem solving orientation, working with key stakeholders in the community, and making changes to the agency organizational structure to facilitate community participation in public safety' (Morabito 2010:565). For instance many countries are using the problem solving model which somehow covers elements of other models.

2.3.3 Community policing versus conventional policing

According to (Cordner and Trojanowicz 1992), the increase of the human and material resources and technology has not been effective for crime prevention, nor have they increased the sensation of public safety.

According to Seleti (2000:13) quoting Marks (2000) the use of violence and brutality to obtain authority, control suspects and to gather information characterize the orthodox policing. Accordingly, this presents poor rates of conviction, deteriorated efficiency and effectiveness therefore declined respect for the law (Brogden 2005). Furthermore, Greene (2000:309-312) argues that this conserves its inflexibility characterized by the cynicism and scepticism of its officers narrowing the law enforcement and crime prevention mostly centred on serious crime and acting reactively as crime fighters. In addition, Brogden (2005) and Manning (1977) cited by Greene (2000), argue that the police are based on applying the law and deterring crime and mostly relying on the coercive power of the criminal law to gain compliance; consequently they are socially isolated from the large community due to their concern with danger, authority and efficiency creating code of secrecy to fence themselves from external control and oversight so that no one could change it, so they get control over the community. They demonstrate "clientilism" culture where their resources and attention are concentrated for the elite.

However, Skolnick and Bayley (1986) quoted by Greene (2000) argues that

'Russell (1997) identified three core theoretical concepts and assumptions that ground the philosophy of community policing. First, there is an expanded role for police in society. Second, there is a transformation of hierarchical structure to a decentralized cooperative model. Third, greater linkages must be created between law enforcement and the community […]. The principles of [CP] grant patrol officers more discretion and the ability to creatively problem solve […]. Further, […] describe [CP] as proactively involved with the community.

Moreover, apart from demilitarization and police accountability to the community, Walker (2012) argues that the CP is much grounded on public safety, fear of crime, and community quality of life, creation of capacity building to the community in order to build and sustain community partnership.

Differently from the police whose aim is the end, CP is much concerned on both the means and ends of the police. Its success is measured by the amount of information about communities, social control, and local dynamics and how much efforts is applied to the community stabilization and capacity building differently from the police where their success is measured by focusing on violent crimes and property crime prevention.

2.3 Conclusion

Crime prevention policies provide to the implementers the necessary guidelines and tools to prevent and reduce crime by intervening on the risk factors before crime occurs and to break the "problem analysis triangle". To do so, two concerns have to be taken into consideration: first, its process of modelling has to embed certain elements such as targeting the result involving monitoring, principles of participation and democracy, reliable data and involving other external experiences and coordination. Secondly, its intervention has to be in law enforcement, social and situational crime prevention by tackling certain level of beneficiaries considered as primary, secondary and tertiary crime prevention. For instance, the CP is a law enforcement crime prevention policy which has to tackle certain levels of intervention based on reliable data.

The origin of the CP is not only grounded on the shortcomings of the orthodox policing but also on the police's harmful characteristics such as violence and brutality to acquire authority, control suspects and to gather information resulting less efficient public safety. Meanwhile, to conceptualize CP demands the understanding of both concepts policing and community that vary according to social, political and cultural understanding. Moreover, it also considers the existence of certain elements such as the partnership police-community, problem solving involving both concepts and police decentralization. There are three identified models of CP: the Anglo-Saxony, the francophone and problem-oriented policing. Many countries use the problem solving model which somehow involves elements of other two.