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Chapter 8: Having an impact on crime

Chapter 8: Having an impact on crime. Revising the crime funnel. The limitations of arrest strategies.

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Chapter 8: Having an impact on crime

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  1. Chapter 8: Having an impact on crime

  2. Revising the crime funnel

  3. The limitations of arrest strategies • Even though many police officers profess to wanting to catch the criminal elite, they are constrained by an organizational system that rewards them for the volume of arrests rather than the quality of their captures • As a result of observations of over 300 crack dealers, and interviews with over 120, Johnson and Natarajan estimate that experienced and higher-level dealers can minimize the risk of arrest to one for every thousand drug transactions or more (See Johnson and Natarajan 1995: 54) • Conviction rates in the UK from suspicious transaction reports during the early 1990s were as low as one for every thousand suspicious reports(See Levi, 2002)

  4. The benefits of crime prevention

  5. Why don’t politicians embrace prevention? • Steve Lab (2004) points out why there is a general lack of enthusiasm for prevention from policymakers. Politicians prefer programs with: • immediate results • focus on outcomes that can be counted • a sensationalist streak • an eye to the immediate problems of the day

  6. Defining reduction, disruption or prevention • Crime reduction • Brings ‘net benefits after considering the impact of displacement and diffusion of benefits, fear of crime and the impact from other programs that may have contributed to any specific crime reduction activity’ (Chainey and Ratcliffe 2005: 19) • Disruption • Disruption ‘occurs when the business is hampered for a period of time, normally as a result of law enforcement action, but is not permanently disabled’ (EUROPOL 2006: 17) • Crime prevention • Involves any activity by an individual or group, public or private, which attempts to eliminate crime either before it occurs or before any additional activity results (Lab 1988)

  7. Levels of crime prevention • Primary prevention • Identifies conditions of the physical and social environment that create, precipitate or provide opportunities for criminal behavior (Brantingham and Faust 1976) • Secondary prevention • Aims to reduce risks associated with those people vulnerable to involvement in crime, and to ameliorate the chance of high-risk offenders developing more serious criminal activities. • Tertiary prevention • Deals with actual offenders and involves ‘intervening with the lives of these offenders in a manner that prevents them from committing other crimes and includes arrest and prosecution, reform and rehabilitation, and institutional education programs’ (Chainey and Ratcliffe 2005: 17)

  8. Levels of crime prevention: ILP relevance • Primary prevention • Used to tackle the systemic weaknesses that offenders exploit so that more strategic problem-solving can take hold • Secondary prevention • Provides opportunities to identify priorities for resource allocation and targeting • Tertiary prevention • Prevention benefits from the arrest and prosecution of high-risk, prolific and persistent offenders

  9. The changing leadership role • Most police commanders have been groomed for leadership positions by subjecting them to training and experiences that are not related to crime reduction • ‘We have people in leadership and management positions who were never expected to do the job I’m asking them to do’ • (New Zealand Police District Commander quoted in Ratcliffe 2005: 449)

  10. The limitations of lawyers • In many US jurisdictions, the chief law enforcement officer has a legal background (district attorney or county prosecutor) • This often prevents them from understanding the benefits of crime disruption or prevention • ‘Although the gradual acceptance of prevention as the primary purpose of intelligence may precipitate improvement, law enforcement has a long history of strategies that respond to a current problem but rarely prevent or control an emerging or anticipated threat’ (Higgins 2004: 72)

  11. Does police targeting prevent crime? • Unfocused increases in police numbers appears to be relatively ineffective • 10 per cent increase in police numbers would, on average, result in a 3 per cent reduction in the major crime types for a city • Evidence from a study of 49 states and 56 cities conducted by Marvell and Moody, 1996 • ‘Hiring more police officers did not play an independent or consistent role in reducing violent crime in the United States’ (Eck and Maguire 2000: 217)

  12. Police impact on crime • Limited or no value • Unfocused increases in police numbers • Targeted patrols at drug corners • Arrests of some juveniles for minor offences • Drug market arrests • Community policing with no clear crime-risk factor focus • Positive impact • Targeted patrols in (non-drug) crime hotspots • Civil code violations and nuisance legislation applied to drug houses • Proactive arrests of serious repeat offenders • Combine enforcement with prevention strategies

  13. Concentrating on the 6 per cent • The 6% that commit 60% of all crime • New South Wales Police Compstat-like process encouraged local police commanders to focus on • Crime hot spots and hot times • Spend more time searching people for illegal weapons • Target recidivist offenders • OCR process shown to reduce crime and • a burglary was prevented for every two arrests, • a vehicle theft was prevented for every five arrests, and • a robbery was prevented for every 30 arrests • (See Chilvers and Weatherburn 2001a: 11)

  14. University of Maryland review • Successful strategies • Incapacitating offenders who continue to commit crimes at high rates • Family therapy by clinical staff for delinquent and pre-delinquent youth • Short-term vocational training programmers for older male ex-offenders no longer involved in the criminal justice system • Prison-based therapeutic community treatment of drug-involved offenders

  15. University of Maryland review • Promising tactics (but that have to be evaluated further) • Gang violence prevention focused on reducing gang cohesion • Battered women’s shelters for women who take other steps to change their lives • Housing dispersion programs • Enterprise Zones • Intensive, residential training programs for at-risk youth

  16. University of Maryland review • Unsuccessful tactics • Gang community mobilization against crime, in high-crime, inner-city poverty areas • Gun buy-back programs operated without geographic limitations on gun sources • Summer job or subsidized work programs for at-risk youth • Short-term, non-residential training programs for at-risk youth • Emphasized specific deterrence such as shock probation and Scared Straight

  17. “Whether the motivation is religious fundamentalism, anti-government sentiment, or the disaffected loner, radicalized groups or individuals are increasingly perpetrating terrorism. A substantial attack upon U.S. soil is increasingly likely. The answer rests with prevention. … The only way to prevent radicalization is to end the conditions that foster it. When efforts at prevention are unsuccessful or impractical, a fully trained and seamlessly integrated public safety force is required to recognize preincident indicators and develop interdiction, disruption, or arrest strategies.” (Bratton 2007: 6-7)

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