Crime Prevention and Community


International and local crimes develop faster than the police are ready to solve all of them and punish criminals. Furthermore, it spreads the fear among the residents, and people are not satisfied with such order of the society. That is the reason why many researchers worked on and developed preventative policing strategies that could be used by the police in pursuit of preventing the commitment of some crimes. There are different types of preventative measures, but problem-oriented, situation crime, hot-spot, broken windows and zero tolerance policing are the most effective and used in the police practice all over the world.

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Problem-Oriented Policing

Each crime has its roots and background, and their understanding allows not only to solve the crime and to punish guilty people, but also to predict the occurrence of new ones. The problem-oriented policing is one of the oldest and often used type of preventative strategies . Accordingly, it has been well-discussed by the leading people in the history of criminology, so that it is reliable. The strategy was introduced by Goldstein in pursuit of analyzing the most frequent crimes that are committed only on the certain territory, for instance, in one street or in one neighborhood. The strategy is very useful since it takes into consideration cultural, political and economic features of the region where the crime is committed. The disadvantage of such method is that only well-spread and frequently committed crimes can be predicted thanks to the problem-oriented policing since finding out the roots of single crimes is too complicated and does not guarantee the right solvement.

Many researchers have conducted the experiments during the last 20 years to show the efficiency of the method: in 86% of cases, problem-oriented policing reduced the crime rate on a certain territory or of certain a crime type. There are many examples in the modern history when the police used this method. For instance, trolley stations in the American cities were attractive places for drug and weapon dealers, fights and other crimes. The police analyzed the root of such problem and discovered that the design of the station fostered criminal activity, so that it was redesigned and it reduced the rates of the crime in that place.

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Situation Crime Prevention

Sometimes the society itself creates appropriate conditions for a criminal to commit a crime. On the one hand, it can be hopelessness in an economic way, so that a person is ready to do unpredictable violent things, while on the other hand, it can be the lack of supervision in the supermarket or the lack of police officers patrolling the roads that create conditions for crime commitment. The idea of the situation crime prevention is simple and at the same time very efficient, limitation of conditions for crime commitment reduces its rate. Therefore, through proper analysis of each crime committed on a certain territory, it is easy to predict whether a potential criminal could have committed the crime if there would be a camera or an additional bodyguard. If the answer is no, then the method is the right one.

The situation crime prevention policing is similar to the problem-oriented policing since both of them should properly analyze the roots of the crime to be successful. Nevertheless, the situation crime prevention is more universal since it can be applied to the certain type of store or pubic place in different parts of the country while problem-oriented policing is more focused on a certain area with unique culture, mentality, and so on. Kings Cross nightclub is a good example of the method situation crime prevention. The rate of violence was high in the place (for instance, the well-known Kings Cross shouting). After that case, the administration of the nightclub introduced id scanners and the closing hours of the club become earlier (from 5am to 3am). Those changes made the sexual assaults reduced by 32%, robberies by 43%, fights by 41%, and car thefts by 45%. Therefore, the Kings Cross case has shown that this method is efficient in practice.

Hot-Spot Policing

There is no equality in the world, so it is natural that some countries are more prosperous compared to others. The same thing occurs with the districts in one city: the one is full of expensive houses with low rate of crime, while another is called slam and full of low-income residents with high rate of crime. Hence, some territories need more attention from the authorities and police than others do. In other words, hot-spot policing is a strategy of focusing on problem territories. The main advantage of the strategy is that it puts all the resources into the right field. There is no need in 50 police officers patrolling the park in the center of the city while those police officers are more essential in the regions of the concentration of the narcotic dealers or in similar areas.

The strategy of hot-spot policing is crucially important in large cities where the authorities cannot control all the territories equally. The most common mistake is allocating police officers equally in each region of the city while in practice, each region has different rate of crime and needs different number of police officers or other type of supervision. According to Sherman, one of theory researchers, 60% of crimes occur on the 6% of the territory of the city or any region. Accordingly, the region with such high concentration of crime needs more police officers and some crime preventing innovations like any other region in the same area.

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Broken Windows Policing

Everything begins from small things, no one has ever created a large business within one day and no large crime is committed as the first crime in his/her life. The theory of broken windows is very controversial and is rarely used in comparison to the previously mentioned strategies, but this one also deserves attention. In 1980, Kelling and Wilson noticed that each small crime leads to the bigger one. They explained this chain in such manner: hooligans broke the window of someones house (a small crime), then if windows were kept to be broken, robbers could come to that place (a medium crime) and even kill somebody inside the house (serious crime).

There are the bright examples of this theory in practice (those are mainly experiments). The experiment took place near the supermarket when flyers were attached to the car and each driver had a choice whether to drop it down or take in a car and drop it in a garbage bin (since there was no such near). Nevertheless, there was also another condition: there was a poster with words Please return the carts taken from the store. In the first case, when there was no cart on parking, 30% drivers committed a little crime, dropped the paper down, while in the second case, where there were 4 carts on the parking, 58% of drivers did the same. Hence, if people see that others commit the crime and neglect any small limitations and bans, people are more prone to commit the crime too. The real example is Eric Garner, an African American boy shot by a police officer. It led to mass protests during which much more people died. Therefore, the broken windows strategy has practical effective examples despite its unpopularity.

Zero Tolerance Policing

There are different types of crimes, some of them are small and often committed by good people by mistake or due to some kind of a stress, while there are serious crimes that make criminals deserve life imprisonment or even the death penalty. Since there are different types of crimes, there is different punishment of it. Nevertheless, many researchers think that very serious punishment should be applied even to small crimes. That is how zero tolerance policing emerged. The main idea of the strategy is that serious punishment of small crimes will prevent people from committing it. It is not a secret that many people neglected rules and committed a small crime since they were not afraid enough of the consequences. In addition, all people should be equal in front of the judicial system. The police should not take into account the conditions of crime commitment and the identity of a criminal. This will also foster people to think before committing a crime. The strategy of zero tolerance policing is applied in many European countries such as Finland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, and France. In those countries, crimes committed with drugs and alcohol are punished very strictly. Therefore, zero tolerance policing can effectively reduce the crime rate through serious punishment of even not very serious crimes.


Therefore, problem-oriented policing and situation crime policing are the most used in the modern world. Both of them require analyzing the roots of a crime and can reduce it on a certain territory. The first strategy is more universal, while the second one is more efficient. Hot-spot policing is a perfect strategy for big cities where one territory is rich and safe, while the others are poor and criminal. The strategy put more resources into such regions to reduce the crime rate. The theories of broken windows and zero tolerance policing both advise cope with small crimes since according to the broken windows theory those lead to bigger crimes, while according to the zero tolerance theory, strict punishment will prevent from commitment least small crimes. Therefore, all five strategies are different but at the same time efficient in case of their appropriate appliance to certain crimes.