“Community, or locally-based crime prevention, instead of targeting individuals, targets areas where the risks of becoming involved in crime or being victimized are high. (…) Such programmes work to increase the sense of safety and security of the residents… to respond to community concerns and crime problems affecting the population and to increase the services and social capital or social cohesion in the community.”
United Nations Handbook on the Crime Prevention Guidelines: Making them Work
Research shows that community-based approaches to crime prevention, including social development strategies, can have a much greater impact on criminal behaviour than enforcement alone. Interventions that combine traditional law enforcement with the provision of support services to gang members by, for example, probation officers, health professionals or community actors, have shown positive results. Also, problem-oriented policing, including hot spot policing and community-oriented policing is being implemented in several countries to prevent crime and strengthen cooperation between police and the citizens they serve. Finally, local projects that support target hardening (situational crime prevention focusing on potential victims and/or hot-spots) together with community-oriented activities to increase awareness and promote crime prevention through social development, have shown to be effective.
Many countries still lack expertise and often the resources to adapt and implement appropriate, evidence-based community crime prevention initiatives that have demonstrated their effectiveness. UNODC therefore offers advice and capacity building to advance Member States prevention agenda in this area in line with relevant United Nations standards and norms, in particular the Guidelines for cooperation and technical assistance in the field of urban crime prevention. UNODC assists Member States in developing knowledge-based policies and programmes on crime prevention at the local level, including by supporting participatory governance systems to ensure that the needs of all, including marginalized populations, are not neglected.