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   This module is a resource for lecturers   

 

Exercises

 

This section contains suggestions for in-class and pre-class educational exercises, while a post-class assignment for assessing student understanding of the Module is suggested in a separate section.

 

Exercise 1.1: Reflecting on the definition of 'crime prevention'.

 

Lecturer Guidelines

Ask students to work in small groups to consider and discuss the following:

  • what might be some common crime types/problems that we might seek to prevent?
  • what are the multiple causes of crime?
  • what agencies are involved in crime prevention?

In plenary, the lecturer can facilitate a feedback and discussion session that may include the following points:

  • Common crime types/problems - each jurisdiction will define what is classified as a crime. Most criminal law statutes or laws will cover many thousands of offences ranging from the minor (such as not paying to ride on public transport or consuming alcohol in a public place) to the major (such as murder, sexual assault, drug trafficking). This means that decisions often need to be made about which crimes we might seek to prevent. This may result in the allocation of attention, and resources, to particular crime types rather than others - and there may be situations in which this is problematic.
  • The causes of crime might vary depending upon the offence, the perpetrator and the context. Some crimes might be motivated by need, such as theft of food; others might be motivated by greed, such as fraud to acquire greater wealth and assets; others might be politically motivated, such as anti-government graffiti. It is not possible in this Module to explore all causes of crime. This exercise is merely designed to trigger discussion of the diverse, and often inter-connected, causes of crime.
 

Exercise 1.2: Deciding what is crime prevention

This brief exercise is designed to encourage students to consider the breadth of possible crime prevention measures and techniques.

Lecturer Guidelines

Below are several scenarios that can be read to the class. After each scenario lecturers might ask the students if they would consider this to be a form of crime prevention. Beyond being useful in discussing what might/might not be considered crime prevention, this exercise also introduces the importance of considering the ethical and moral dimensions of crime prevention - at what price might we pursue the prevention of crime?

  • A home visit by an early health nurse to all new parents is provided to check on how they are managing the demands of parenthood. Is this a crime prevention measure?
  • A landscape architect makes several recommendations in relation to the development of a new housing estate. Some of these recommendations include the planting of low growing vegetation at the front of all homes and the installation of a garden bed along the front of the fences. Is this a crime prevention measure?
  • The images below show an anti-theft device that fits beneath tables in bars. Is this a crime prevention measure?

Source: Design Against Crime Research Centre
  • Machine-readable microchips will be implanted under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of an electronic tagging scheme. Tiny chips would be surgically inserted under the skin of offenders in the community, to help enforce home curfews. The radio frequency identification (RFID) tags - as long as two grains of rice - are able to carry scannable personal information about individuals, including their identities, address and offending record. Is this a crime prevention measure?
  • Mandatory drug testing has been introduced in some workplaces, especially where the performance of intricate physical tasks is required. Is this a crime prevention measure?
  • The work of security personnel responsible for the management of cash-in-transit (i.e. large collection and distribution of cash to businesses) is governed by work safety guidelines. These guidelines seek to protect security personnel involved in cash-in-transit activities. Is this a crime prevention measure?

Possible answers/discussion points:

  • At least in some respects all these examples could be considered to be forms of crime prevention. This demonstrates the breadth of what might be considered to be crime prevention and some of the ethical and moral considerations arising from efforts to prevent crime. Some discussion points that might arise from this exercise include:
    • Technology is increasingly contributing to the prevention of crime. For example, very successful crime prevention measures have been applied to motor vehicles to make it harder to steal them. However, the use of technology to prevent crime is not without problems. Inserting microchips in known offenders might technologically possible but raises numerous ethical and moral issues. What lengths we should go to prevent crime and the potential unintended consequences of crime prevention measures should always be considered.
    • Measuring the impact of the diverse techniques employed to prevent crime is difficult. For example, an early intervention programme involving home visits to new parents might well help families, but it can be difficult demonstrating the crime prevention benefits that accrue many years after the intervention.
 

Exercise 2.3: Defining key terms

Distribute the following table of definitions or show it in a PowerPoint slide and ask students to complete it.

Lecturer Guidelines

Discuss their answers and then provide them with the completed table or reveal the answers on a PowerPoint slide.

Term

Definition

Community Safety

xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Crime Prevention

 

Crime Reduction

 

Crime Control

 

Answers can be taken from the definitions provided under " Key terms".

Possible discussion points:

  • Consider the different timeframes, responsibilities, and agencies evoked by these terms. Crime control is often considered to be a narrower and more immediate intervention than crime prevention or community safety. Police are generally seen to be responsible for crime control measures, whereas community safety and crime prevention can be the domain of non-criminal justice agencies such as education, health, housing, child protection, family support, urban planning, voluntary, civil society, private companies and local government agencies.
  • The focus of community safety is not only on crime. It is recognized that many communities experience harms that are more important or devastating than crime. Focusing on merely preventing crime might be unhelpful in circumstances where communities face great hardship, loss of life and ill-health on a daily basis. Discussing this can place crime and the associated harms in a wider context.
 

Exercise 3.4: Public health typology

Ask students to identify possible primary, secondary and tertiary forms of crime prevention.

Lecturer Guidelines

Some possible answers/discussions points (drawing from Brantingham and Faust, 1976):

  • " Primary crime prevention identifies conditions of the physical and social environment that provide opportunities for or precipitate criminal acts. Here the objective of intervention is to alter those conditions so that crimes cannot occur". This covers myriad approaches to crime prevention which are truly preventative - they work before a crime has been committed. Designing out crime by making a new product inherently secure or providing parenting skills or after-school programmes in disadvantaged areas/communities can prevent crime.
  • "Secondary crime prevention engages in early identification of potential offenders and seeks to intervene in their lives in such a way that they never commit criminal violation". This form of prevention is often directed at 'at-risk' young people. Young people who are showing signs of potential involvement in crime might be considered 'at-risk'. Young people not actively engaged in school (where it is provided), who associate with known offenders, and who use alcohol and other drugs, might be considered to be at-risk of involvement in crime. Providing programmes to help these young people before they become entrenched in offending would be considered to be a form of secondary crime prevention. The UNODC youth crime prevention initiative, Line Up Live Up, exemplifies the ways in which secondary prevention initiatives can maximise protective factors, promote resilience, and strengthen communities.
  • " Tertiary crime prevention deals with actual offenders and involves intervention in their lives in such a fashion that they will not commit further offenses". This form of prevention is generally linked to criminal justice agencies, particularly courts, prisons and community correctional agencies. Rehabilitation programmes offered by these agencies that seek to prevent further offending would be considered to be forms of tertiary crime prevention.
 

Exercise 3.5: Tonry and Farrington typology

Distribute the following table or show it in a PowerPoint slide and ask students to complete it.

Lecturer Guidelines

Discuss their answers and then provide them with the completed table or reveal the answers on a PowerPoint slide.

Model

Explanation

Examples

Developmental

A form of early intervention, developmental crime prevention seeks to address the early causes of criminality. Reducing community and individual risk factors and increasing protective factors, helps to prevent crime later in life.

xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xx

Community / Social

Strengthening neighbourhoods helps prevent crime. Local communities that have strong bonds and where people know each other are generally less prone to experience crime. Enhancing 'social capital' or the relationships between people can be beneficial in protecting people from crime.

 

Situational

Stopping the opportunities for crime is an effective way of preventing crime. Increasing the risks of detection, reducing the rewards for offending and increasing the difficulty of offending are all ways to prevent crime.

 

Law Enforcement / Criminal Justice

This form of crime prevention is associated with the criminal justice system - police, courts and prisons - and is the most commonly understood form of crime prevention.

 

Answers:

Model

Explanation

Examples

Developmental

A form of early intervention, developmental crime prevention seeks to address the early causes of criminality. Reducing community and individual risk factors and increasing protective factors, helps to prevent crime later in life.

The most celebrated examples of developmental crime prevention include parenting programmes, school enrichment initiatives like skills training, pre-school regimes, and improvements in transition to school arrangements.

Community / Social

Strengthening neighbourhoods helps prevent crime. Local communities that have strong bonds and where people know each other are generally less prone to experience crime. Enhancing 'social capital' or the relationships between people can be beneficial in protecting people from crime.

Community building activities, provision of welfare services and increasing community support groups all help to enhance the sense of community and can contribute to the prevention of crime.

Situational

Stopping the opportunities for crime is an effective way of preventing crime. Increasing the risks of detection, reducing the rewards for offending and increasing the difficulty of offending are all ways to prevent crime.

Situational crime prevention can be as simple as installing locks and alarms, increasing surveillance through lighting and making buildings harder to enter, damage or hide near.

Law Enforcement / Criminal Justice

This form of crime prevention is associated with the criminal justice system - police, courts and prisons - and is the most commonly understood form of crime prevention.

Problem-oriented policing can help prevent recurring problems requiring a policing response through detailed analysis of crime problems and inter-agency responses; community-oriented policing is a strategy for encouraging the public to act as partners with the police in preventing and managing crime; treatment programs offered through court processes can address causes of crime; rehabilitation programmes in prison can prevent re-offending.

 

Exercise 3.6: Risk factors

What challenges might exist in effectively isolating key risk factors for later offending behaviour?

Lecturer Guidelines

Some possible answers/discussions points:

  • Many theorists in this area emphasise that risk is not destiny. This means that the mere presence of risk factors does not mean that someone will necessarily commit crime or become a persistent offender. It is important that lecturers emphasise this point, to ensure that the respective contexts of risk are not interpreted as stigmatizing individuals or communities.
  • Similarly, it is important to emphasize that risk factors are not necessarily universal. What might be considered a risk factor for crime in one country or region might not be considered a risk factor in another. For example, large family size has been identified by Farrington and Welsh (and others) as a risk factor for crime. Yet this might be considered to be a protective factor in some cultural or regional contexts.
  • Many people in any one area might have several of the aforementioned risk factors. Few will become persistent offenders. Consequently, predicting who will become a persistent or repeat offender is difficult. Identifying someone as potentially at-risk of future offending is likely to have profound adverse consequences for that individual, including increased policing surveillance. Consequently, great care needs to be taken when trying to identify risk factors and at-risk individuals.
 

Exercise 3.7: Challenges of developmental prevention

Despite the guidance provided by Homel et al. (2006) and depicted in the below table, what challenges would you expect to confront in developing and implementing a developmental crime prevention programme?

Lecturer Guidelines

Provide the following table to the students.

Think Developmentally

Do Good Science

  1. Emphasise universal, non-stigmatizing programmes
  2. Focus on life transitions and related developmental issues
  3. Use a multi contextual approach with programmes located within the major spheres that influence children's development
  4. Focus on building connections between key developmental contexts
  5. Use a strength based orientation - build on families' personal and cultural assets
  1. Develop evidence based interventions (based both on research and effective practice)
  2. Focus on preventive interventions
  3. Commit to the achievement of measurable goals
  4. Use both quantitative and qualitative evaluation methods
  5. Focus on outcomes - avoid the usual drift to outputs
  6. Generate new knowledge - how were the outcomes achieved?

Understand Community Needs

Engage in Community Development

  1. The needs of the community take precedence over the interests of the partner organizations
  2. Use multiple methods to understand local needs and resources:
    1. Risk factor analyses
    2. Qualitative surveys
    3. Local histories (including oral)
    4. Focus groups
    5. Build on knowledge of community workers
  1. Empower individuals and community
  2. Employ local people and train them
  3. Involve the community in planning activities
  4. Support existing programs and services
  5. Build partnerships between services, researchers, local institutions and the community
  6. Facilitate access to services by culturally diverse groups
  7. Demonstrate commitment to the community
  8. Communities cannot do it all: use external expertise
  9. Work for sustainability: changes in institutional practices

Some possible answers/discussions points:

  • Developmental crime prevention frequently involves numerous agencies working together. It can be a challenge to get agencies to coordinate and cooperate with each other, especially agencies that do not see themselves as directly involved in crime prevention (for example, childcare centres or schools).
  • Developmental crime prevention often involves numerous interventions that operate either sequentially or simultaneously. This can be difficult to manage and to keep staff and programmes on track.
  • While there is now clear evidence of the success of developmental crime prevention initiatives in delivering positive results, often many years after they were implemented, it can be difficult to sustain the political and organizational will to fund and deliver these programmes.
 

Exercise 3.8: Programmes to build collective efficacy

What programmes or interventions might help to build informal social control and collective efficacy?

Lecturer Guidelines

Some possible answers/discussions points:

  • Target hot spots
  • Stop spiral of decay, by cleaning up rubbish, graffiti and so on
  • Reduce residential mobility by enabling residents to buy their homes
  • Scatter public housing in a broad range of neighbourhoods
  • Promote community power through community organizations
  • Encourage community leadership and responses to community problems
  • Empower residents through vocational training and employment opportunities
  • Facilitate opportunities for children to return to school and/or to stay in school
  • Help young people make the transition to a working life (from school or unemployment)
  • Improve residents' knowledge of available public services and community support services
  • Make client service staff more accessible and visible so they can respond to problems quickly
  • Improve housing so it better meets contemporary standards and residents want to stay
  • Work with groups of residents so that they can develop new life and community management skills
  • Encourage a partnership approach between public, private, volunteer, charitable and community organizations to assist the community (Knepper, 2007, p. 22-23)
 

Exercise 3.9: Challenges of delivering community prevention

What might be some of the challenges of delivering interventions and programmes like these?

Lecturer Guidelines

Some possible answers/discussions points:

  • Maintaining political will for long-term investment - programmes of this kind often take a long time to produce outcomes (as with developmental crime prevention).
  • Ensuring that local or community level crime prevention programmes can combat the national/international trends that impact on local crime (i.e. supply of specific drugs, illicit firearms, etc).
  • Countering the assumption that crime is everyone's problem, but no-one's responsibility - "The crux of the problem is that in this new-found era of 'crime is everybody's problem', responsibility has become so diffused as to no longer reside anywhere in particular, with all the problems for funding to which that gives rise" (Crawford, 1998, p. 122).
  • Some communities and neighbourhoods will feel that they are being labelled and stigmatized if they are selected for a programme or intervention.
  • There are numerous difficulties of conducting quality evaluations when multiple programmes are running simultaneously.
  • The 'criminalization of social policy' "refers to the situation in which social welfare issues become redefined as crime problems. When goals of providing affordable homes, improving health, and providing incomes through employment become secondary to crime reduction in social policy, criminalisation of social policy has occurred" (Knepper 2007, p. 139).
 

Exercise 3.10: The 25 opportunity reducing techniques

Review the 25 opportunity reducing techniques. Identify those techniques currently being used in your local area.

Lecturer Guidelines

Provide the below table ( pdf for download) and facilitate a discussion based on this.

(Source: Cornish and Clarke, 2003)
 

Exercise 3.11: Action research methodology

Apply the situational crime prevention action research methodology to a local crime problem.

Lecturer Guidelines

Assist students in undertaking a basic analysis of the problem, and devise a situational crime prevention response (possibly reflecting the 25 opportunity reducing techniques).

 

Exercise 3.12: Displacement and diffusion of benefits

There are different types of displacement and diffusion of benefits. Complete the following table by providing examples of the different forms of displacement and diffusion of benefits for residential burglary.

Lecturer Guidelines

Provide the students with the blank copy below.

Blank copy

Type

Definition

Diffusion

Geographical

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Temporal

 

   

Target

 

   

Tactical

 

   

Crime Type

 

   

Answers

Type

Definition

Diffusion

Geographical

 

Geographical change

Reduction in targeted area and in nearby areas

Temporal

 

Time switch

Reduction during day and evening

Target

 

Switch object or target of offending (burglary in homes to apartments)

Reduce offending against target and related offences (reduce burglary in homes and apartments)

Tactical

 

Change in method of offending

Reduce

Crime Type

 

Switch crimes

Reduce target and related offences

(This exercise has been modified from Clarke and Eck, 2016, p. 36).
 

Exercise 3.13: Policing for prevention

Discuss the three approaches to policing, and consider the merits of each in terms of legitimacy (i.e. community members have faith in the police) and crime prevention outcomes.

Lecturer Guidelines

Some possible answers/discussions points:

  • Community-based policing approaches are likely to achieve the highest levels of legitimacy through connecting the police to local community members. However, this might result in considerable police time being spent in meetings and at events that are not especially productive for the purposes of preventing crime. Both problem-oriented and pulling levers policing (or focused deterrence) are likely to produce the best results in terms of crime prevention and reduction. By shifting the focus from community engagement to developing a detailed understanding of, and response to, local crime problems, both problem-oriented and pulling levers policing approaches concentrate limited resources on people, places and products that are at the heart of the greatest crime problems.
 

Exercise 3.14: Prisons

While numbers vary, it is generally true that a small percentage of the population are responsible for a disproportionately large amount of crime. Consequently, criminal justice agencies increasingly focus their limited resources on high-risk offenders. What are some of the problems associated with this approach?

Lecturer Guidelines

Some possible answers/discussions points:

  • It is important to consider the negative unintended consequences of seeking to prevent crime. There are many examples where approaches to crime prevention have resulted in some form of harm. This might be stigmatization that a community feels if it is singled out for a crime prevention initiative or it might be that people meet at a group therapeutic programme and then become co-offenders (often known as contamination). Consequently, it is important that consideration be given to potential problems associated with initiatives designed to target high-risk offenders. Some people will feel harassed because of the attention they receive from criminal justice agencies once they are identified as a high-risk offender. This might result in increased offending, because they become disgruntled, angry and frustrated that they can never escape the gaze of the criminal justice system.
 

Exercise 4.15: Crime problem-solving video

Watch this short video (5 minutes and 9 seconds) on crime problem-solving approaches.

video

Lecturer Guidelines

Pose the following questions:

  • What are the two crime problem-solving approaches introduced in the video? (SARA Model, Ekblom's 5Is)
  • What are the five key elements of Ekblom's 5Is? (Intelligence, Intervention, Implementation, Involvement, Impact)
  • What are some of the problems with crime data - a key feature of Intelligence? (Accessing appropriate data, reporting of crime, getting data from small local areas)
  • What are some of the challenges to effective implementation? (Programmes drift from original intention, clash of agencies with different perspectives, technological failures, staff changes, electoral changes resulting in different policies).
 

Exercise 4.16: Crime problem

Outline the following crime problem to the class: There has been a significant increase in the number of burglaries in the local neighbourhood in the last six months. This is causing concern in the community and residents want action.

Lecturer Guidelines

Divide the class into small groups (4-5 students per group). Ask half the groups to apply the 5Is approach and the other half to apply the SARA model to this problem. Acknowledge that it is very broad but that this is part of the exercise to get the group thinking about the type of information they would require as they move through the key elements of each problem-solving approach.

Some prompts and answers are provided below. Given the potentially similar results arising from the two approaches, Ekblom's 5Is has been used here.

Ekblom's 5Is

INTELLIGENCE - gathering and analysing information on:

  • crime and disorder problems and their consequences
  • offenders and modus operandi
  • causes of crime and (with longer term, developmental prevention) the 'risk and protective factors' in young children's life circumstances associated with later criminality

INTERVENTION - blocking, disrupting or weakening those causes. The interventions cover the entire field:

  • acting through both civil prevention and traditional justice/ law enforcement
  • addressing both situational and offender-oriented causes
  • and tackling causation at different levels - immediate 'molecular' causes of criminal events, higher-level causes in communities, networks, markets and criminal careers, and remote 'upstream' causes influenced by manipulation of risk and protective factors in children' early lives

IMPLEMENTATION - converting the intervention principles into practical methods that are:

  • customised for the local problem and context
  • targeted on offenders, victims, buildings, places and products, on an individual or collective basis
  • planned, managed, organised and steered
  • monitored and quality assured, with documentation of inputs of human and financial resources, outputs and intermediate outcomes
  • assessed for ethical issues

INVOLVEMENT - mobilising other agencies, companies and individuals to play their part in implementing the intervention, or acting in partnership, because crime prevention professionals must often work through or with others, rather than directly intervening in causes of crime. In both cases specifying:

  • who was involved
  • what broad roles or specific tasks they undertook
  • how they were alerted, motivated, empowered or directed (eg by publicity campaigns, financial incentives)
  • how a broadly supportive climate was created in the community and how hostility was reduced

IMPACT - nature of evaluation (how the project was assessed, by whom; whether this was a reliable, systematic and independent evaluation; and what kind of evaluation design was used)

  • impact results (what worked, how)
  • cost-effectiveness, coverage of crime problem, timescale for implementation and impact
  • process evaluation (what problems/ tradeoffs faced in implementation, how they were resolved at each stage)
  • replicability (which contextual conditions and infrastructure are helpful, or necessary, to successfully replicate this project - or particular elements of it - at each of the 5Is stages)
  • learning points - both positive and negative (what to do, what not to do)
 

Exercise 5.17: Campbell Collaboration

Invite students to read the Plain Language Summary of the Police-led diversion of low-risk youth (either on screen or as a handout) and ask them, in small groups, to discuss how this evidence might be used by policymakers. More advanced students might be asked to critically examine the review document and to discuss the limitations of the review.

Lecturer Guidelines

Possible discussion points:

  • While criminal justice policymaking is a highly contested area with competing views being common, a review of this kind can help to inject an independent source of information into relevant debates. Evidence of the kind generated by the Campbell Collaboration helps to inject relevant policy debates with robust research findings which should provide greater confidence in adopting an approach covered by one of the Campbell Collaboration reviews.
  • Possible limitations of this review include the following: All the studies were originally conducted in developed Western countries; 11 studies were conducted in the United States, four in Australia, two in Canada and two in the United Kingdom. Follow-up periods ranged from four months to 30 months. Sample sizes ranged greatly between studies. Many of the studies had sample sizes between 100-200 participants in each of the treatment and control groups. The largest study had 1232 participants in the treatment group and 595 participants in the control group. But a few of the included studies had very small sample sizes, one of them had eight participants in the treatment group and eleven in the control group. The way in which outcomes were measured also varied between studies, some used self-reported delinquency, others used contact with certain criminal justice institutions. Most of the studies were also conducted in the 1970s-80s and whether those findings continue to be an accurate reflection of current times is an issue to be considered. Similarly, questions of comparability, generalizability, transferability and relevance of the included studies with other jurisdictions arise.
 

Exercise 5.18: EMMIE

Comparative analysis of the Crime Reduction Toolkit and the Campbell Collaboration

Lecturer Guidelines

Ask the students, in pairs, to discuss the toolkit and the benefits of this approach over the Campbell Collaboration.

 

Exercise 6.19: Summary and conclusion

By way of summary, download and watch this video, which introduces crime prevention approaches. Note that this exercise can still be completed if the video cannot be accessed for any reason. Just remove reference to the video in the questions.

Lecturer Guidelines

Pose the following questions to the students:

  • What are the four models of crime prevention mentioned in the video?
    1. xx
    2. xx
    3. xx
    4. xx
  • How might criminal justice agencies prevent crime and why might these approaches have limited crime prevention benefits?
  • What are the three elements of the crime triangle?
    1. xx
    2. xx
    3. xx
  • What changes in our 'routine activities' increased opportunities for crime in the latter part of last century?
  • What is informal social control and what examples are mentioned in the video?
  • What are the challenges of implementing social crime prevention?
  • What early intervention programmes are mentioned in the video?

The answers to these questions are provided in the penultimate slide of the PowerPoint presentation.

 
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