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Reducing Criminal Opportunities Through Environmental Manipulation.

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Presentation on theme: "Reducing Criminal Opportunities Through Environmental Manipulation."— Presentation transcript:


2 Reducing Criminal Opportunities Through Environmental Manipulation

3  This chapter is concerned with environmental criminology  What is environmental criminology? ◦ Assumes there is little that can be done to change criminals ◦ Focus is on what can be done about crime ◦ Includes situational crime prevention ◦ Concerned with how settings translate criminal inclinations into action ◦ Includes Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)

4  What is the rational offender perspective? ◦ It is basically deterrence theory ◦ Assumes offenders weigh costs/benefits of violating the law  What is the link to environmental criminology? ◦ Environmental features may affect the cost/benefit decision process  Routine activities theory ◦ Motivated offenders  Handlers and place managers may discourage offenders from crime ◦ Suitable targets  Target for environmental manipulation ◦ Absence of guardians  Need more cops, security guards, etc.

5  Crime pattern theory is concerned with the places frequented by criminals  Key concepts ◦ Behavior space  Locations offenders frequent ◦ Awareness space  Areas with which offenders are familiar ◦ The interaction between behavior space and awareness space

6  Territorial functioning/defensible space perspective is concerned with the attachment people have to the areas around them ◦ Territorial cognition  Defensible space ◦ How physical characteristics of spaces affect behavior, criminal and noncriminal

7  Incivilities thesis ◦ Low-level offenses/breaches of community standards that  Increase fear  Send a signal that an area is out of control  Lead to an increase in serious crime  What is the link to environmental manipulation? ◦ Minimize potential for incivilities and crime may decline

8  Four methods of reducing criminal opportunity through environmental manipulation have been identified ◦ Access control ◦ Surveillance ◦ Activity support ◦ Motivation reinforcement

9  Most common method of discouraging crime at residences is target hardening  Does it work? ◦ Research from the U.K. suggests it does, but little research has been conducted in U.S.  Another approach is property marking, but there is little research suggesting this approach works

10  Much more researchers’ attention has been drawn to areas surrounding residences  Methods ◦ Restrict pedestrian access ◦ Closed-circuit television (CCTV)  Which method works best? ◦ Several studies show restriction of pedestrian access is effective, but there is little research on CCTV

11  Several environmental manipulations have been combined  Examples ◦ Combine apartment watch, target hardening, property marking, lighting improvements, etc. ◦ Removal of coin-operated meters with cocoon neighborhood watch ◦ Graduated surveillance ◦ Civil nuisance abatement combined with other approaches  Do comprehensive approaches work? ◦ The evidence is more supportive of this method than isolated approaches

12  Types of gated communities ◦ Fee-based ◦ No fee  Reasons for living in gated communities ◦ Safety ◦ Strong HOA ◦ Family ◦ Recreation  Real Benefits? ◦ Understudied (people feel safer; not clear about crime differences)  Downside? ◦ Siege mentality

13  With respect to convenience stores, researchers have looked at ◦ Two clerks instead of one ◦ Security cameras ◦ Silent alarms ◦ Security systems (for after hours) ◦ Barricades (for after hours)  What works? ◦ Very little research in this area  Other crime concerns ◦ Shoplifting  EAS and ink tags—effective ◦ Employee theft  Increased inventorying—effective

14  Several environmental manipulations have been implemented at banks, including ◦ CCTV ◦ Security guards inside/outside the bank ◦ Protective screens/bulletproof glass ◦ Time-lock safes  Much research shows these approaches are effective, but the research designs were weak

15  What works at bars? ◦ Better management  How is it accomplished? ◦ Training for bouncers ◦ Crowd control ◦ Improved relationships with the police ◦ Code of practice ◦ Don’t serve alcohol to visibly intoxicated people

16  Types of crimes of concern on public transit include ◦ Vandalism ◦ Robberies and assaults of passengers/drivers ◦ Fare evasion  Varieties of environmental manipulations ◦ Graffiti cleanup ◦ Added law enforcement ◦ CCTV ◦ Publicity ◦ Exact fare systems on buses ◦ Redesigned ticket machines to prevent fare evasion ◦ Redesigned toll gates  Does it work? ◦ Evidence is encouraging

17  Pre 9/11 interventions ◦ Air marshals ◦ Improvements to doors on planes ◦ Baggage screening ◦ Extradition treaties ◦ Metal detectors  Do these methods work? ◦ Some evaluations say yes ◦ 9/11 says no

18  Methods of dealing with crime at parking garages include ◦ Addition of guards ◦ Addition of security attendants ◦ CCTV ◦ Access and exit control ◦ Various combinations of each  Which method works best? ◦ It appears that guards and security attendants work better than CCTV ◦ Access/exit control underresearched  Question? ◦ Do the benefits of environmental manipulation outweigh the costs?

19  Environmental manipulations in open spaces include ◦ Lighting ◦ Street closures/traffic restrictions ◦ CCTV  What works? ◦ Lighting in open spaces appears effective, but it is not clear whether this extends to private areas ◦ Street closures with added law enforcement appear effective ◦ Red light cameras (a twist on CCTV) certainly work!

20  Criminals sometimes target parking meters and public phones ◦ For profit ◦ To avoid paying  Effective methods of targeting public phones include ◦ Design improvements ◦ Electronic monitoring of phone booths ◦ Hardened coin boxes ◦ Rapid repair of broken phones ◦ Efforts to prevent fraud  Effective methods of targeting parking meters include ◦ Installing slug-proof meters

21  Finally, some good news!  Environmental manipulations appear much more effective, on the whole, at reducing crime compared to criminal justice system expansion

22  Reducing criminal opportunities through environmental manipulation.

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