Crime Prevention Technical Assistance

Technical assistance in the area of crime prevention is provided in close coordination with, and as an integral part of the technical assistance UNODC provides in the area of criminal justice reform, as appropriate.

In the area of crime prevention, UNODC  focuses its technical assistance  on several key issues, which include promoting knowledge based interventions (e.g., through victimization surveys and crime statistics), providing advisory services for the the development and implementation of regional and national strategies and action plans, and supporting sector-specific programmes and projects with a particular focus on at-risk youth groups.

In order to facilitate the support UNODC provides to Member States in this area, crime prevention tools and publications have been developed and others are under development. As in other areas, technical assistance is delivered in cooperation with other UN agencies and key national, regional and international stakeholders.

Technical assistance in crime prevention is guided by the Guidelines for Cooperation and Technical Assistance in the Field of Urban Crime Prevention (ECOSOC Resolution 1995/9, Annex), which established, among others, the following principles:

  • Local approach to problems
  • Integrated Crime Prevention Action Plans
  • Active support by competent authorities at all levels

Local approach to problems: Recognizing the multiplicity of factors and forms which characterizes urban crime, guidelines call for multi-agency and coordinated responses at the local level, in accordance with an integrated crime prevention action plan. Such local approach can include a local diagnostic survey of crime phenomena with the participation of all relevant stakeholders (national and local, government and non-government actors), followed by a consultative process to jointly design a strategy and solutions to these problems in accordance with the local context.

In order to be comprehensive and efficient an Integrated Crime Prevention Action Plan should  (a) Define the nature and types of crime problems to be tackled; the objectives being pursued and the time by which these should be attained; the action envisaged and the respective responsibilities of those involved;  (b) Involve a range of actors including social workers and education, housing and health workers, the police, the courts, public prosecutors and probation services, the community, including victims' organizations, the business sector and the media;  (c) Consider the relevance to the crime prevention action plan of such factors as relationships in the family, education, religious, moral and civic values, and culture;  employment, training, measures to combating unemployment and poverty; housing and urbanism;  health, drug and alcohol abuse; government and welfare aid for the least fortunate members of society; combating a culture of violence and intolerance; (d) Provide for action at various levels which include  i) Primary Prevention: promoting situational crime prevention measures such as  target hardening and opportunity reduction; promoting social and developmental crime prevention measures to strengthen  individuals and communities' resilience to crime and victimization (e.g., promoting welfare and health development and combatting all forms of social deprivation; promoting civic responsibility and social mediation procedures; facilitating the adaptation of the working methods of the police and the courts) ; ii) Prevention of Recidivism by: (a) Facilitating the adaptation of methods of police intervention (e.g., rapid response, intervention within the local community) (b) Facilitating the adaptation of methods of judicial intervention and implementation of alternative remedies: i. Diversification of methods of treatment and of measures taken according to the nature and seriousness of the cases (e.g., diversionary schemes, mediation, a special system for minors); ii. Systematic research on the reintegration of offenders involved in urban crime through the implementation of non-custodial measures; iii. Socio-educational support within the framework of the sentence, in prison and as preparation for release from prison; (c). Giving an active role to the community in the rehabilitation of offenders;  iii) After the sentence has been served: aid and socio-educational support, family support, and other measures;  and iv) Protection of victims by practical improvements in their treatment by means of raising awareness of rights and how to exercise them effectively; reinforcing rights (in particular the right to compensation); and  introducing systems of victim assistance.

Active support by competent authorities at all levels: In the implementation of the Action Plan, the competent central authorities should provide active support, assistance and encouragement to local actors; coordinate national policy and strategies with local strategies and needs; and organize consultation and cooperation mechanisms between the various administrations concerned at the central level. Competent authorities at all levels should be constantly mindful of respect for the fundamental principles of human rights in promoting crime prevention activities; encourage and/or implement appropriate training and information to support all professionals involved in crime prevention;  compare experiences and organize exchanges of know-how; and provide a means of evaluating regularly the effectiveness of the strategy implemented and provide for the possibility of revising it.