Crime Prevention

"Prevention is the first imperative of justice " (United Nations document S/2004/616, para. 4)

"Crime Prevention comprises strategies and measures that seek to reduce the risk of crimes occurring, and their potential harmful effects on individuals and society, including fear of crime, by intervening to influence their multiple causes." Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime ECOSOC Resolution 2002/13, Annex.

Crime prevention is a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary, and integrated endeavour.

The introduction to the Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime indicates that: "There is clear evidence that well-planned crime prevention strategies not only prevent crime and victimization, but also promote community safety and contribute to sustainable development of countries. Effective, responsible crime prevention enhances the quality of life of all citizens. It has long-term benefits in terms of reducing the costs associated with the formal criminal justice system, as well as other social costs that result from crime." (Economic and Social Council resolution 2002/13, annex), (above) .

In 2005, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in its Resolution 2005/22 Action to promote effective crime prevention, requested UNODC to achieve a balanced approach between crime prevention and criminal justice responses, and to further develop initiatives on crime prevention. In 2008, ECOSOC, in its Resolution 2008/24 Strengthening prevention of urban crime: an integrated approach, encouraged member states to integrate crime prevention considerations into all relevant social and economic policies and programmes in order to effectively address the conditions in which crime and violence can emerge.

In accordance with the United Nations standards and norms on crime prevention, UNODC actively contributes to international and national efforts to prevent and control crime. UNODC assists requesting member states to enhance the capacity of key crime prevention actors and systems to operate more effectively, with particular attention to vulnerable groups. To that effect,  UNODC works in close partnership with national and regional counterparts, other UN agencies, civil society organizations, academia, the business sector, and other key actors. UNODC also focuses on the development of specialized tools and manuals in support of policy making and the delivery of technical assistance.

Recognizing the multiple causes of crime and as the custodian of the United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, UNODC promotes strategies, plans, and programmes, which are multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary, and which favour civil society participation. Such strategies and action plans are underpinned by the basic principles for the prevention of crime (Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime, ECOSOC Resolution 2002/13, Annex) (above):


Technical Assistance

UNODC offers assistance:


For more detailed information on UNODC's work on crime prevention, please follow the links below:


See also: